News Links – 2020

 

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star-Tribune, September 23, 2020: St. Paul will cut down thousands of ash trees next year but can’t afford replanting

St. Paul’s urban forest will take a beating next year, when the city plans to chop down 3,000 ash trees without planting anything in their place. After more than a decade of scrambling to keep up with the invasive emerald ash borer, the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department is expecting to fall further behind in 2021 as it trims spending to help fill a nearly $20 million citywide budget shortfall. In a budget presentation to the City Council on Wednesday, Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm called the lack of resources for tree planting in 2021 “a pretty dramatic change. It is not ideal,” he said. St. Paul has removed nearly 16,000 ash trees from its right of way since emerald ash borer was discovered in 2009 — the first documented infestation in the state. Today, more than 11,000 ash trees remain; to cut them down, grind up their stumps and plant new trees would cost nearly $20 million, or about half the department’s total budget. Heading into 2021, the plan is to cut down 3,000 trees a year over three years, plus another 2,300 in 2024. Planting will begin again in 2022, with 630 trees…

Reuters, September 23, 2020: Tree-planting rush overlooks climate benefits from natural forest recovery

Leaving cleared tropical forests to regrow naturally has the potential to absorb a quarter of global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels each year, researchers said on Wednesday. A study led by the World Resources Institute (WRI), a U.S.-based think-tank, looked at and mapped the potential carbon-storing benefits of letting cut forests recover on their own. To meet national climate pledges, many countries have launched big tree-planting programmes, signing up to high-profile schemes like the Bonn Challenge. But some deforested areas in the tropics may benefit more from allowing them to regrow naturally – which is often cheaper and more likely to benefit native wildlife, the study said. The approach could absorb 8.9 billion metric tonnes of carbon each year through to 2050 – much higher than previously thought, said WRI researchers. That is on top of the carbon sponge already provided by existing forests, which absorb about 30% of planet-heating emissions, mainly generated by burning fossil fuels, each year

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2020: Stand on Precedent. That’s a Good Boy!

Among the portraits of former justices that hang in the Missouri Supreme Court building in Jefferson City stands the bust of a hound dog named Old Drum. The sculpture isn’t meant as a homage to a canine. Rather, it is a tribute to a lawyer. Old Drum was shot to death 150 years ago in Johnson County, Mo. His owner, Charles Burden, filed a lawsuit against Leonidas Hornsby, his neighbor and brother-in-law, whom he suspected of orchestrating the killing. Hornsby had lost numerous sheep to dog attacks and promised to kill the first stray that appeared on his property. George Graham Vest, a 39-year-old lawyer, represented Burden. On Sept. 23, 1870, Vest delivered one of the most enduring arguments ever performed in a courtroom. The speech is notable for what it is lacking: any mention of Old Drum or the violent act that led to his death. Instead, Vest delivered a eulogy to all dogs. He told jurors that “the one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground . . . if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer…”

Detroit, Michigan, Free Press, September 22, 2020: Joshua trees protected under the California Endangered Species Act in historic vote

In a likely precedent-setting decision, the California Fish and Game Commission on Tuesday voted 4-0 to approve the western Joshua tree for the next stage of protection under the California Endangered Species Act. This marks the first time the state law has been used to give protection to a species that is mainly threatened by climate change. The species — one of two varieties of the iconic desert megaflora — is facing habitat loss due to warming temperatures that are pushing the ecosystems where it thrives farther north and into higher elevations. Scientists predict that Joshua Tree National Park could be devoid of its namesake plant by the end of the century. The western Joshua tree now receives protection under the act for the next year as the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife studies whether the species is indeed at enough risk to need full listing as threatened. At the federal level, Joshua trees were denied protection under the Endangered Species Act, a decision that is being challenged in federal court by environmental group WildEarth Guardians…

Do It Yourself, September 22, 2020: How to grow trees from seed

Growing trees from seed can be an interesting adventure for the amateur and expert gardener, alike. It’s exciting enough to see a small seed germinate into a flower or vegetable, just imagine watching trees mature knowing that you planted and nursed them from seed! Fruit and nut trees are wonderful edible additions to your garden, whereas woody and flowering varieties can add character, and much needed shade. While there are some downfalls to the process, growing trees from seed can be an interesting, educational, and rewarding experience. Read on to find out how! Before you begin to sow any seeds, you’ll want to decide what kind of trees and how many you would like to have. Find trees that are suitable for your land. Do some research and make sure your climate, soil pH, and land restrictions are compatible with the trees you want to grow. Most citrus trees won’t flourish in cooler climates, for example, but apple and cherry trees may thrive. Try not to fight with nature, or tamper with soil too much. Grow trees that want to live where you live. That’s the best way to ensure tree longevity, and healthy produce for decades to come. The cheapest way to get seeds is to gather them yourself. Choose local varieties, since you know they already grow in your area. Make sure to sort and clean them, and store properly until needed. …

Reuters, September 22, 2020: Aiming to be carbon-neutral? Don’t rely on planting trees, scientists say

Taking better care of nature could absorb many more climate-changing emissions – but will only work if big companies simultaneously slash their own emissions and focus on boosting biodiversity, not just planting trees, scientists warned. “It’s vitally important to understand this potential can only be achieved with rapid and aggressive decarbonisation,” said Nathalie Seddon, who directs the Nature-Based Solutions Initiative at Britain’s University of Oxford. A broad range of companies, including some fossil fuel firms, are now promoting and adopting tree planting and other “nature-based solutions” as a smart and easy-to-grasp way to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. More than 560 companies, including giants such as tech titan Microsoft and retailer Walmart, on Monday urged governments to put in place stronger policies to protect nature and fight climate change, and guide business efforts toward those goals. Many of the companies, part of the Business for Nature coalition, said at New York Climate Week events that they were pressing ahead with their own green actions, from adopting clean energy to offsetting their carbon emissions by adding trees…

Public News Service, September 22, 2020: Are Trees the Key to a Sustainable Building Future?

Michigan is in a unique position to capitalize on innovative building technology that can improve the environment. Mass timber is created from smaller pieces of wood, such as two-by-fours, that are glued together to create beams, floors and other load-bearing building structures. Michigan State University’s new STEM Teaching and Learning Facility is the first building in the state to use mass timber. Richard Kobe, professor and chair of the Department of Forestry at MSU, said the material is a more sustainable and carbon-friendly alternative to steel and concrete construction. “One thousand, eight hundred and fifty six metric tons of carbon that’s contained in that building,” Kobe said. “And when the trees were growing, they took that carbon out of the atmosphere and now this is a long-term mechanism for storing that carbon that will keep it out of the atmosphere.” A virtual tour of the building will take place today during the Michigan Mass Timber Summit. The event will be held online over three sessions, and will examine the costs and benefits of mass timber projects, design and logistics, building codes and construction. Dave Neumann, forest products utilization and marketing specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Forest Resources Division, said with about 60% of Michigan covered in forest, there’s great potential for mass timber building components to be sourced from the state in the future…

Seattle, Washington, Times, September 19, 2020: Science offers compelling theories for the mysteries of our tallest trees, but their majesty requires no research — just appreciation

HAVE YOU EVER wondered how trees get water all the way to their tops? Or what limits the height of a tree? I mean, some western red cedars and Douglas firs get over 200 feet tall, but why don’t they get even taller? Given that our region is home to several of the tallest tree species on the planet, I thought I should investigate. The coast redwood is generally considered the tallest tree species on Earth. The current record-holding individual is a specimen in Northern California, known as Hyperion, which tops out around 380 feet. Though we don’t have any redwoods, our native trees are still world-class giants. Washington state is home to Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, noble fir, western hemlock, ponderosa pine and grand fir — all of which rate in the top 30 tallest tree species in the world. In fact, two of the largest known specimens in the world live in our state: a noble fir growing in the Cascades and a grand fir in the Olympics. So is there a limit to how tall a tree can grow? Researchers studying the coastal redwoods think so, and suggest the answer might lie around 400 to 430 feet. They believe the height of a tree is ultimately restricted at this height as the pull of gravity and the friction between water and the vessels it flows through make any further growth impossible. This is known as the hydraulic limitation hypothesis…

Phys.org, September 21, 2020: Mixed-species tree stands adapt better than pure stands

Firs and spruces dominate the tree population of the Black Forest with a share of 80 percent. However, such predominantly pure stands are particularly vulnerable to extreme events caused by climate change, such as storm damage, heat waves, and bark beetle infestations. In Baden-Württemberg, on average, every third tree is already sick. A conversion from pure to mixed stands could increase the resistance of forests. The potential benefits also include greater biodiversity, long-term economic efficiency, and stability. This is the result of a study by KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) for which experts from forestry, silviculture, and tourism were interviewed. “The natural adaptability of monospecific forests to persistent hot, dry weather periods alternating with heavy rainfall is relatively low,” says Dr. Christine Rösch, head of the Sustainable Bioeconomy Research Group at the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) of KIT. “However, there is an urgent need to improve the adaptability of forest ecosystems to weather events, as stress due to climate change increases and occurs in much shorter periods than before so that the usual regeneration cycles can no longer make up for it…”

Boise, Idaho, KTVB-TV, September 21, 2020: Hazard tree mitigation efforts from Trap Creek Fire begin along Highway 21

The Trap Creek Fire, located about nine miles northwest of Stanley on the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, is currently burning at 2,211 acres and is 25% contained. It was first reported on September 14. 148 personnel are currently assigned to the fire. A cold front over the weekend brought rain that cleared the heavy smoke from the fire and provided relief for firefighters and the community. Wind, warm temperatures and dry conditions are expected today and could increase fire activity. Hazard tree mitigation began along Highway 21 on Monday is is expected to last for two to three days. A forest area closure is in effect for the area around the fire and was expanded on Saturday to include Valley Creek Road. This includes all roads, trails, campgrounds, and hunting units within the closure. The purpose of this order is to protect the public and firefighters during wildfire activity suppression activities…

CNN, September 21, 2020: A Florida woman was attacked by a 10-foot alligator while trimming trees

A Florida woman is recovering from injuries she received when she was attacked by a 10-foot, 4-inch alligator while trimming trees in Fort Myers. The 27-year-old woman was trimming by the edge of a lake near a country club on September 10 when the alligator bit her. She was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital and treated for injuries to both legs, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The FWC said it is still investigating the incident. A few days later, on September 13, a man suffered injuries to his leg when he was bitten by an alligator while walking his dog along a residential canal in Port St. Lucie, the FWC said. The 8-foot, 3-inch alligator that bit him was removed and transferred to an alligator farm. CNN affiliate WPTV reported that Mark Johnson, 61, said the alligator clamped onto his leg and was trying to drag him under water. When Johnson poked the alligator in the eye, the reptile let go, he said. “I kind of slide and my foot is stuck in the mud, and the next thing I know, I see the lunge,” Johnson told WPTV. “He starts clamping down pretty tight and he started to pull, and the next thing I do, I instantly, here’s my fingers, I poke through the eye.”Johnson received 62 stitches and his dog was unhurt, WPTV reported…

Hampton, Virginia, WVEC-TV, September 21, 2020: Time to go nuts! Yes, the Virginia Department of Forestry is asking for acorns from your yard

The Virginia Department of Forestry, known for developing healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians, is seeking 12 species of acorns and nuts that can be planted at its Augusta Forestry Center in Crimora, Virginia to help cultivate the forests of tomorrow. The department hopes to use the acorns and nuts to grow into tree seedlings. The hardwood crop will then be sold to Virginia’s forestland owners to build their future forests. Each year, VDOF asks the public from across the state to collect and donate nuts of select species to be planted at the state nursery. Seedlings developed from Virginia-grown seed generally produce trees that will best thrive in our state’s climates. Protocols and guidelines for acorn collection remain mostly the same as last year, with some minor adjustments to the collection deadline and species list. During September and early October, it is easy to pick up nuts in many yards and parking lots. Try to avoid trees in more heavily forested areas because there may be different species of trees nearby, making it difficult to sort the nuts by species for proper planting. The species the tree nursery needs this year are black oak, black walnut, Chinese chestnut, chestnut oak, live oak, northern red oak, pin oak, southern red oak, swamp chestnut oak, swamp white oak, white oak and willow oak…

Spokane, Washington, Spokesman-Review, September 19, 2020: Tree on power line likely cause of fire that destroyed Malden, Pine City

A tree that made contact with an Avista Utilities power line on the southern edge of Spokane County appears to have started the Babb Road Fire, which raced through nearly 15 miles of dry brush and timber during an intense Sept. 7 windstorm, destroying the vast majority of homes in Malden and Pine City. The Spokesman-Review on Thursday located a partially burned pine tree that had been cut down with chainsaws, lying beside a row of recently replaced Avista distribution poles in the area where residents first reported seeing smoke. In an email Friday, Avista spokeswoman Casey Fielder said “we can confirm that the tree in question made contact with the lines, and appears to be the area where the fire started.” Avista also released a public statement Friday saying it has learned of instances where “otherwise healthy trees and limbs, located in areas outside its maintenance right-of-way, broke under the extraordinary wind conditions and caused damage to its energy delivery system.” However, the company said it “has not found any evidence that the fires were caused by any deficiencies in its equipment, maintenance activities or vegetation management practices.” Avista said it is cooperating with ongoing investigations by the state Department of Natural Resources, and it’s coordinating with the agency on fire suppression efforts…

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Argus Leader, September 19, 2020: Ash tree removal in Brandon will begin in October

The emerald ash borer has been causing havoc on ash trees in the United States. The beetle is native to Asia but was transplanted to North America. Since its discovery in the United States in 2002, it has spread across the eastern portion of the country and is now found in 33 states. Count South Dakota as one of them. The larvae of the insect is what causes most of the damage, feeding on the inner bark of the tree and eventually killing it. Although there hasn’t been a discovery in Brandon, there has been plenty in Sioux Falls and the city is in the middle of a 10-year plan to eradicate the problem. A blue No. 9 is spray painted on the side of ash trees in Sioux Falls, and last year alone, the city removed one-third of the trees in the city. Brandon parks superintendent Devin Coughlin said it’s only a matter of time before Brandon sees an infection, so the city is taking a preemptive strike to slow any spread…

Washington, D.C., Post, September 20, 2020: Ever wondered why trees ditch their leaves each fall?

Autumn arrives this week, and that means pumpkins, football and piles of fresh, crackly leaves. Did you ever wonder why trees throw away an important part of their anatomy each year? After all, wouldn’t it be similar to people losing all their hair — or even weirder, their skin — just as our part of the world gets colder? While it might seem strange from the point of view of a human, to a plant, losing leaves makes perfect sense. Trees are solar-powered. Each leaf is loaded with a pigment called chlorophyll, which absorbs light and helps convert water and carbon dioxide into energy. The process is called photosynthesis. But there’s a problem. In parts of the world that experience seasons, winter means less and less sunlight each day. It also comes with biting cold that can freeze the liquids inside leaves. These two factors hamper the tree’s ability to make energy. A full-grown oak tree might have more than 60,000 leaves, and each one requires valuable nutrients. So when fall turns into winter, trees discharge their leaves as a cost-cutting measure. If it had to spend resources on all those leaves through the winter, not only would the leaves freeze, but the tree would die. However, evergreen trees have a different strategy, says Mason Heberling, assistant curator of botany at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Instead of dropping and regrowing their leaves each year, pine trees and other evergreens evolved short, thick “leaves” that can withstand winter’s wrath. Of course, we call them “needles…”

Loganville, Georgia, Patch, September 20, 2020: Gwinnett Woman Walking Dog Dies When Tree Falls On Her

A 71-year-old Snellville woman was one of three Georgians killed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally when a tree fell on her Lynn Alice Trapp was walking her dog Thursday morning near her home on Capot Court in unincorporated Snellville when the tree came down. Gwinnett rescue crews responded to a report of a fallen tree before they realized someone was pinned under it, according to Gwinnett fire Captain Tommy Rutledge as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Trapp died at the scene, and her dog was taken for treatment. On Wednesday, 30-year-old Gerald Crawford died of his injuries after a century-old oak tree fell on his house in southwest Atlanta. Crawford’s family had recently called the city of Atlanta to have the tree removed after a branch fell and damaged a parked vehicle. Trees like that “are getting near the end of their life cycle,” said Jason Hudgins, president of the Westview community organization, to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Whenever there’s a storm, we put people in our community on alert because we do have the problem…”

Detroit, Michigan, News, September 17, 2020: You may be cleaning up in the bathroom using an old-growth tree

With everyone spending more time at home, demand for residential toilet paper is way up. That’s bad news for the world’s oldest forests. Unlike the industrial rolls found in many offices and restaurants, the cushy TP Americans love for their own bathrooms is made almost entirely of trees cut from virgin forests. Procter & Gamble Co. – maker of Charmin, the country’s most popular brand – has defended the practice in part by saying it plants a tree for every one it cuts down. It also pays to protect trees in other parts of the world as a way of offsetting some of its greenhouse gas emissions. But carbon accounting isn’t that simple. Forests store carbon in the soil, not just in trees, and that isn’t so easily replaced. A rundown of how the major manufacturers treat their trees: Procter & Gamble Brand: Charmin. Made from virgin forest? Yes. Replants trees? Yes, 1:1. Buys carbon offsets? Yes, but not to cover emissions from TP. The company says: “Every decision we make is guided by what’s best for consumers and the environment. P&G has committed to using recycled fibers where it can have the most benefit for our consumers.” – P&G spokesperson…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, WHYY, September 18, 2020: Philadelphia’s tree cover is vanishing. Here’s how you can help.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society recently launched its third “More Trees Please” fundraising campaign — a campaign desperately needed to keep the city Tree Tender crews planting saplings and growing our green canopy. The campaign undoubtedly will help Philadelphia strengthen its urban forest and reverse long-standing environmental inequities.Yet despite these laudable efforts and those of the city’s Tree Philly programs, our city continues to lose tree canopy faster than we can replant it, even prior to the current crisis. Per the Philadelphia Tree Canopy Assessment Report released in December 2019, between 2008 and 2018, we lost approximately 6% of our urban tree canopy. The report states that much of the canopy loss has occurred in park space — this loss will likely accelerate due to ash trees succumbing to the Emerald Ash Borerand weakened by the spotted lanternfly, losses from increased storm severity as our climate becomes hotter and wetter. Then there’s street tree attrition due to development-related construction. The reduced canopy coverage has largely coincided with the only period in decades when the city has gained population and experienced an increase in construction activity…

Orlando, Florida, WKMG-TV, September 17, 2020: Forecasting Change: Breaking down the benefits of trees

Trees are nature’s way of cooling off. Everyone knows the the benefit of shade, but trees also help reduce heat by pulling water up through their roots and releasing it into the air through leaves. Trees, shrubs and grass all help to reduce storm water runoff. Even mangroves help to slow down storm surge in a land-falling hurricane. Check out these graphics that show how much trees aid the environment. In areas where trees and vegetation have been removed for buildings, parking lots and other development, we have what is called a “heat island effect.” All of that concrete, pavement and brick absorb heat during the day and then releases it overnight. This link shows where areas near cities are warmer than the average for the surrounding area as a whole. Check it out to see if you live in a heat island and think about the trees, water and the heat any time you see development…

Patch-Ohio, September 17, 2020: Mentor: Talking About Trees

Trees and shrubs are an attractive and important asset to any property. In addition to their aesthetic benefits, they help improve air quality, reduce storm water runoff, and help reduce energy costs. Property owners are reminded that they are responsible for the maintenance of all trees, shrubs, and hedges on their property; including those on the tree lawn. As per Mentor City Ordinance, trees along roadways must be trimmed to a height of 14 feet above the road surface so that school buses and other vehicles can safely pass by. Trees should be trimmed to a height of at least 7 feet above the sidewalks, and bushes and shrubs should be trimmed to a height of no more than 3 feet adjacent to the Right of Way, so that walkers, joggers, and bicyclists can pass by unimpeded. Trees that are dead or weakened as a result of age or disease are a danger to you and others. Falling limbs can cause significant property damage as well as loss of life. And, property owners may be financially responsible for damage caused by limbs that fall on their neighbor’s property if those limbs have been identified as being a potential danger, and if the owner has been asked to address the problem by the City…

Portland, Oregon, Oregonian, September 16, 2020: ‘Hundreds of thousands of trees’ need to be removed along Oregon 22; nearly 300 miles of state highways closed indefinitely

Nearly 300 miles of roads remain closed across Oregon with no timetable for reopening and “hundreds of thousands” of trees need to be removed along Oregon 22 alone before highways are safe for travel. That’s according to the Oregon Department of Transportation, which released preliminary information Wednesday showing how significantly intrastate travel could be affected by the wildfires for months to come. Wildfires are still burning in several sections of the state, and fire officials have said that some of the blazes will continue burning until heavy rains come later this year. According to a new transportation map released this week, nearly a dozen highways are closed entirely, many for long stretches. The closures will impact travel across the Cascade Mountains in several key spots – with Oregon 138, Oregon 22, Oregon 126 and Oregon 242 all closed at critical spots with no timetable for reopening. Those roads are key arteries connecting Roseburg, Salem and the Eugene-Springfield areas to Central Oregon. U.S. 20 and U.S. 26 remain open, as does Oregon 58, which connects the Eugene area to U.S. 97. As of Wednesday afternoon, roughly 281 miles of highway are closed due to wildfire damage, or roughly the distance on Interstate 5 between Portland and Medford. “It’s fair to say this is a whole new level of damage,” Katherine Benenati, a transportation department spokesperson, said in an email. “These are some of the most hazardous conditions and some of the most widespread damage we’ve seen in years…”

Huntington, West Virginia, Herald-Dispatch, September 16, 2020: Cicadas will soon erupt again. Prepare your trees for the invasion.

If past is prologue, then one night next May, a funny-looking insect – plump, brown, hunched – will emerge from the ground, crawl up the nearest vertical perch and cast off its mantle. Within an hour or two, the periodical cicada will fill out to its adult form, with beady red eyes and glassy wings framed with orange ribs. Soon thereafter, hundreds, thousands, millions more cicadas will join the creature for one of the natural world’s most bizarre spectacles: a six-week bacchanalian feast of loud music, acrobatics and, yes, sex, stretching from Georgia to New York. Before this wonder fades for another 17 years, there will be a couple of lingering reminders that this wasn’t some surreal dream. The garden will be littered with the carcasses of three species of spent cicadas. More ominously, the ends of the branches of shrubs and trees will begin to droop and turn brown. The female cicada lays eggs in slits she has cut in thin branches. This ensures that the ensuing hatchling nymphs will drop and burrow into soil laced with tree roots, for they feed off the root sap. The egg-laying also means that branches from the point of injury to their tips will probably die back. On big old oaks or hickories, the resulting branch flagging is unsightly, but it’s a temporary eyesore that the tree will outgrow. But for young, small trees, the dieback can harm the tree’s future and desired shape by pruning twigs destined to become its main branches. In extreme cases, the wounds can allow disease to move into the tree and kill it. The female cicadas prefer branches that are roughly between one-quarter and one-half of an inch in diameter, and each individual makes several cuts. “For trees planted in the past four years, you may want to consider protecting,” said Stephanie Adams, plant health care leader at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill. Young redbuds, crab apples and cherry trees are among the types of trees that are at risk…

New York City, The New York Times, September 16, 2020: This Tree’s Leaves Look Soft and Inviting. Please Don’t Touch Them.

The lore that shrouds Australia’s giant stinging trees, of the genus Dendrocnide, is perhaps as dubious as it is vast. Tales abound of nightmarish encounters with the hypodermic-needle-like hairs of its leaves injecting a toxin that drives men to madness and has prompted horses to hurl themselves off cliffs. Some of these stories are centuries old and cannot be verified. But as Edward Gilding can attest, these legends contain at least one lick of truth: the absolute agony of being stabbed by the fine, downy hairs that adorn the leaves and stems of Dendrocnide. The trees, which can grow taller than 100 feet, are found throughout the rain forests of eastern Australia, where they are known to torment hikers. “It’s like having a nail shoved into your flesh,” said Dr. Gilding, a biologist at the University of Queensland and self-described sting connoisseur. The sting from the trees’ hairs also has immense staying power, doling out anguish in waves for hours or days. Some anecdotes have reported intermittent pain lasting months; a few especially bad stings have even landed people in the hospital…

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, September 16, 2020: Nevada City Group Sitting In Trees To Protect Them From Being Cut Down By PG&E

Some people in Nevada City are going to new heights to stop PG&E from cutting down trees. These protesters are not marching, but climbing to make sure one tree, in particular, does not get chopped down. Pitts and others are doing this for a particular reason.“What’s happening is we are having a lot of trees taken out unnecessarily, completely thoughtlessly. Like just making a huge mess; taking away our heritage,” Pitts said. That heritage is heritage trees. PG&E said some trees have to go because they’re too close to power lines and pose a fire risk. “Part of it is obviously to protect the number of the heritage trees that are here. We’re concerned about the trees that are not really presenting a threat in themselves,” Lorraine Nauman, a tree protester, said. “This particular tree was planted 160 years ago by one of the original tree foundation members in the county here,” Pitts said. Pitts told CBS13 that the tree they climbed to protect from being cut down is an Atlas cedar spruce. It’s not native to the Nevada City area. PG&E said 263 trees are marked to be cut down in Nevada City to provide shorter, smaller and smart Public Safety Power Shutoffs. But instead of cutting down, many want the utility to look down and put their power lines underground. “Undergrounding, in this case, is not a panacea to all of the problems,” Brandi Merlo, PG&E spokesperson, said. “It’s still subject to its own issues including weather impacts, dig in potential, lightning strikes…”

New York City, WCBS-TV, September 15, 2020: Homeowners In Roslyn In Tree Fight With PSEG Long Island Over High Voltage Wires

Homeowners in one North Shore community are in the midst of a tree fight with their utility over high voltage wires and tilting power poles.Families say PSEG Long Island is responsible for maintaining safe easements in their back yards. Down the street from Roslyn High School, Overlook Terrace has 34 homes with backyard PSEG Long Island easements containing power poles. They hold, among other wires, cables so strong they can electrocute. One of homeowner Cary Ratner’s 60 foot tall maples is in a precarious position. “I have a tree that’s a real peril,” Ratner said. “I tried to get a tree surgeon, three of them. They won’t go near. It’s too close to the high voltage. It’s 13,000 volts.” Next door, Jeffrey Kane’s 65 foot elm tree is also bending amid the high voltage wires, which is located on the right of way maintained, according to law, by PSEG Long Island. A stiff wind in hurricane season could topple branches. “That’s the problem. I am concerned that it will be dangerous,” Kane said…

Tallahassee, Florida, Democrat, September 15, 2020: It’s raining squirrels: They’re cute, clever and falling from trees

Imagine its terror when a gust of wind whips a baby out of its snug nest to free fall through the air and then slam into the ground. If it’s lucky, it lands on rain-softened earth, not asphalt. St. Francis Wildlife is caring for 175 of these babies now, with more arriving every day. This is peak baby squirrel season. Every afternoon storm blows baby squirrels from their treetop nests. Tree trimmers also unknowingly cut down their homes. Squirrels are a paradox. They can be destructive, annoying pests. But they are also intelligent, curious, agile, and yes, valuable. Because all the little nut and seed treasures they squirrel away are never dug up, squirrels provide us with free gardening services and invaluable timber resources. With a little effort and ingenuity, we can learn to live in harmony with these resourceful little neighbors that have managed to survive on this continent for 36 million years…

Chicago, Illinois, Sun Times, September 15, 2020: Chicago is a leader in planting trees for the environment, but ComEd crews ruin them

The Sun-Times editorial California’s wildfires and Chicago’s derecho reveal cascading damage of climate change is spot on! We should not feel helpless, though, because we can move Illinois in the right direction during the current clear climate change crisis. Chicago has been a leader in reducing carbon emissions by planting some 300,000 trees over the last two decades. With the destruction of 7,300 trees throughout the city and county, we need to step up. Change always begins at the local level. Our neighborhood group, the Edgewater Glen Association, has partnered with Open Lands and received 11 trees to replant after the unprecedented derecho storm. For years our group has focused on tree replanting for every tree removed because of aging or disease. However, as ComEd sends out chainsaw crews to cut back trees encroaching on power lines, we have witnessed a very anti-environmental approach. Untrained ComEd crews have butchered mature trees so badly that they reduce the trees’ lives to less than five years…

Moon Crew, September 15, 2020: The story of a tree falling in Houston

I have watched this video — counting conservatively — over 500 times in the last 24 hours. Listen to that “ohhhhhhhh.” Even before he hits the “goddammit,” this amateur tree surgeon is yelling to God from his doomed heels. That is a cry from the soul to this cursed earth: Why have you turned against me, giver of life? Why has that which brought shade and life now become a swift hammer of a cruel justice beyond my understanding? What is that man with the rope supposed to be doing here, exactly? The “goddammit” — full-throated, delivered from a place of total despair in a raspy yowl best described as something between Yosemite Sam and an irate South Park yokel — only seals a universal moment. It is when fate finds a check written with your stupidity, and also the moment when fate decides to cash that check with such force, it overdrafts you straight into hell. First, know this: The screaming man in the video is not dropping a tree onto his own house. That house belongs to Matt Bieniek’s family. I spoke with him yesterday over the phone, after he saw his own house being assaulted on the internet by poorly executed tree surgery…

U.S. News and World Report, September 14, 2020: Explainer: How This Year’s Destructive U.S. West Wildfire Season Came to Be

Dozens of conflagrations have raged across more than 5 million acres (1.6 million hectares) in Oregon, California and Washington state since August, laying waste to several small towns, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 35 people. The region’s increasingly dry and overgrown forests have become large-scale tinderboxes over decades while wildfires have become more frequent, more intense and more deadly. Here’s why. U.S President Donald Trump blames poor forest management – mainly a failure to cull overgrown forests – for the increasing number and intensity of fires. The governors of California and Oregon – the states worst hit this season – say climate change is largely responsible. Scientists say both factors are at work. Starting in the early 1900s, wildfires were fought aggressively and suppressed, which led to a build-up of dead trees and brush in forested areas. That means more fuel for bigger, more intense and damaging wildfires. But changes in climate and weather patterns — warming temperatures, periods of drought and erratic rains – also are causes. “We don’t want to minimize the impact of climate because it’s significant already and because it’s growing in the future,” said Dan Cayan, a climate researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. The region generally experienced a relatively dry winter, leaving forests particularly dessicated and vulnerable to extreme heat that materialized in August. Dry, gusty winds, known as Santa Ana in Southern California and Diablo in Northern California, contributed to the fires’ rapid spread…

Providence, Rhode Island, Journal, September 14, 2020: Microscopic worm poses big threat to R.I.’s beech trees

A disease that can be deadly to beech trees was found for the first time in Rhode Island this summer, threatening thousands of the trees known for their smooth, silver-gray bark. A homeowner in the Ashaway village of Hopkinton contacted the state Department of Environmental Management in June after noticing something was wrong with the beech trees on her property. A DEM forester and Heather Faubert, a University of Rhode Island plant scientist, visited the site in the southwest part of the state and confirmed that the trees were afflicted with beech leaf disease. Discovered in Ohio in 2012, the disease has spread to Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario. It was found in Connecticut last year and this summer in Massachusetts, too. After the initial discovery of the disease at the home in Ashaway, Faubert, who coordinates the URI Plant Protection Clinic, found it spread throughout a nearby beech forest in an area off Route 91. Thousands of trees there showed the telltale signs of the disease: unnatural stripes between the veins of their leaves. Many of the leaves withered, yellowed and died as a result of the damage and the trees were forced to expend vital energy during the hottest and driest part of the year to leaf out a second time. A tree can do that only so many years in a row before the stress can kill it. The disease can spread to American beech trees, the species native to the Eastern United States and southeastern Canada, as well as European beech trees, an imported variety found on the grounds of mansions in Newport and other places. It can also affect Oriental beech trees…

Colorado Springs, Colorado, Gazette, September 15, 2020: What you’re really doing when carving an aspen tree in Colorado

To carve an aspen tree — to take a blade to the trunk for the sake of your initials, for example — is to do harm. Harm to a being with a life expectancy much like our own: 100 years, if we’re lucky. To leave your mark, “it may sound cool,” says Dan West, an aspen expert with the Colorado State Forest Service. “But that tree might not survive because of what you’re doing.” A cut to the human arm is a possible portal for infection. Same for an aspen tree. Though the risk might be greater in aspen, considering “aspen are one of the most diseased and infected trees in North America,” West says. Otherwise, yes, a wound to our body is much like a wound to Colorado’s favorite tree of autumn. On our travels to behold the golden displays, we’ve all seen it. Gashed groves. White bark disrupted by black scars that look nothing like nature’s doing. There’s someone’s name. There’s someone’s message that doesn’t matter. There’s some date marking what might be some romantic occasion. There’s a heart housing the names Megan and Jon. Paul Rogers, director of the Western Aspen Alliance based at Utah State University, came by this one once. A harsh revision was made — an “X” over “Megan” and a message above: “MEGAN IS A SKANK.” “It didn’t work out over time, their relationship, apparently,” Rogers says. But the advocate scientist cares not for such drama. Nor do the trees care for our drama and whatever vain impulses lead us to scarring their skin. It’s a particularly thin skin. That’s what makes aspen particularly susceptible. “Because of the thin skin,” Rogers says…

Fastcompany, September 14, 2020: This tool is mapping every tree in California to help stop megafires

If you zoom in on a new map of California, you’ll start to see that the fields of green that represent the forest are actually made up of individual green points, and each point represents a real, individual tree. The tool, called the California Forest Observatory, uses AI and satellite images to create an ultradetailed view of the state’s forests—aiding work to prevent the type of catastrophic megafires that the state is experiencing now. Scientists at Salo Sciences, a startup that works on technology for natural climate solutions, began creating the tool after interviewing dozens of experts in California about the state’s challenges with wildfires: They need more detailed, up-to-date information about the forests so they can better predict how fast and in what direction fires will spread, and remove the most hazardous fuels. Even the rough satellite maps that exist now are often three years out of date, making it hard for agencies to plan their work. The new tool will be updated annually after the fire season ends, if not more often. Firefighters can use the tool to predict how current fires may spread as they’re burning. But just as critically, the state can also use the map to plan forest management to prevent future megafires. “What we really found was California more than anything has a vegetation and fuel load problem,” says David Marvin, cofounder and CEO of Salo Sciences. “This has occurred because, for the last century, we’ve been suppressing wildfire, and we’ve gotten really good at doing so. CalFire, the state fire agency, puts out something like 96% of fires, and we have thousands of them every year…”

Los Angeles, California, Times, September 13, 2020: 150 million dead trees could fuel unprecedented firestorms in the Sierra Nevada

Two years ago scientists warned that a massive tree die-off in the Sierra Nevada could set the stage for forest conflagrations akin to World War II fire bombings. The Creek fire, which forced the dramatic helicopter evacuations of more than 200 campers over Labor Day weekend in California, may be a hint of far worse to come in future years. It is burning in the Sierra National Forest, an epicenter of the bark beetle attacks that killed nearly 150 million drought-stressed trees during the last decade. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that dead stands in the Creek fire contain 2,000 tons of fuel per acre. As of Saturday, the fire had charred more than 196,000 acres, destroyed 365 structures and was threatening 14,000 more in the vicinity of Big Creek, Huntington Lake and Shaver Lake. Firefighters don’t expect to contain it until mid-October. For those who have studied the potential fire effects of the vast beetle kill, the Creek fire is a harbinger. “I don’t want to be alarmist. But I think the conditions are there,” said Scott Stephens, a UC Berkeley professor of fire science and lead author of a 2018 paper that raised the specter of future mass forest fires as intense as the Dresden, Germany, and Tokyo firebombings…

Inc. magazine, September 13, 2020: This Company Sends Foresters Into the Woods to Prevent Wildfires–and Save Lives

The devastating wildfires that swept through Northern California in recent years have left a new problem in their wake: dead trees that threaten people, roads, and gas and water lines. Enter American Tree Medics, which hit the 2020 Inc. 5000 with more than $2 million in 2019 revenue. The family-owned company uses a team of arborists and foresters to perform 15-minute diagnostic evaluations–factoring in each tree’s species, age, and other characteristics–and decide which ones need to be cut down. “Time is critical in these situations,” says co-founder and CEO Heidi Britt. The Modesto, California-based company earned $2.1 million last year from clients including the city of Santa Rosa and Butte County, site of the deadliest wildfire in California’s history, 2018’s Camp Fire. Employees use tape measures, magnifying glasses, hatchets, and other tools to give each tree a health score. Removing dead, dried-out trees can improve the overall health of the forest and hinder the spread of wildfires… The company creates teams of certified arborists, foresters, and loggers. All new employees shadow a professional for several months before they can perform assessments on their own…

Las Vegas, Nevada, Review-Journal, September 13, 2020: Seedlings from 9/11 Survivor Tree ‘doing very well’ in Las Vegas

Two ornamental pear seedlings have grown stronger in the past year, but they have not yet received permanent homes in Las Vegas. Last year, Las Vegas was selected as a recipient of the seedlings from the Survivor Tree Seedling Program as a symbol of hope after the mass shooting that occurred on Oct. 1, 2017. The Survivor Tree was recovered from ground zero with broken roots and branches after the 9/11 attacks in New York City. The tree was rehabilitated and replanted at the Sept. 11 memorial in 2010, according to the organization’s website. The program launched in 2013 with the harvested seedlings from the tree to share the message of solidarity. According to Las Vegas officials, the program sent a pair of seedlings in case one was damaged in transport. In the past year, the seedlings have grown, but they’re still too small to be planted. They are housed in the city’s tree nursery, where Steven Glimp, park maintenance manager for the city, cares for them. “The trees are doing very well and we look forward to their continued growth so that we can plant them next year,” Glimp said in a statement provided by a city spokesman. “The city of Las Vegas is honored to be a recipient of these trees.” City officials have not decided where the trees will be planted. Options include the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden or the Las Vegas Fire Department Station 5, which hosts a 9/11 remembrance ceremony each year and has a piece of World Trade Center steel on display…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sun, September 13, 2020: What to do when wind damages trees

Question: I lost about 1/3 of my crabapple tree and probably more than 1/2 of a mimosa tree in the wind storm on Tuesday. Is there anything I should do to try to help them?
Answer: Great question! The short answer is, “No, at least not urgently, and there’s no need for any type of wound sealant.” For now, in case it helps you rest easier, imagine what your trees would do if they were all alone in the forest and were damaged by wind gusts. They’d just sit there and be fine. That is, unless there are any immediate risks, like a car parked underneath or an area of high pedestrian activity nearby where a partially broken limb could fall and hurt someone. Aside from considering bodily harm and property damage, the next step mostly depends on the damage. How thick were the branches that were broken? How many branches, approximately, per tree? And are they within easy reach from the ground? Evidence from tree research has confirmed that clean-cut wounds (as opposed to scraggly jagged tears) seal better and faster. Trees’ natural responses to injury are partly influenced on the time of year and the growth stage. For example, responses may be faster in the active growing season than in the dormant season. In the coming weeks, you or a trained arborist can clean up the jagged branch breaking points to help the trees seal those wounded areas more easily. It is important that the wider base of each branch called the branch collar be left intact so that the cambial layer just inside the bark can grow over the wound to seal it…

Detroit, Michigan, WDIV-TV, September 10, 2020: Residents concerned over safety issue after fallen tree, debris litter Detroit street

A big mess on a Detroit street turned into a big safety concern. Washburn Street, on Detroit’s east side, was littered with debris and a large tree that came crashing down recently during wild weather. The damage wasn’t just an eyesore, but also a potential safety issue for residents. Neighbors wanted it cleaned up, so they called Help Me Hank to investigate. Hank Winchester found that the city had done some tree trimming on Washburn Street at about the same time DTE was doing some work in the area. Some who reached out weren’t exactly sure who created the mess, they just wanted it cleaned up. Winchester was alerted to the issue when someone Tweeted to him, Detroit mayor Mike Duggan and DTE Energy. Come to find out, DTE did not cause the mess. Detroit forestry crews were doing work here at about the same time as the DTE project. However, as it was being sorted out, DTE jumped into action and sent a crew to help. Winchester learned it was a city issue and Detroit city officials were quick to respond, sending a crew out to clean up the large mess and everything left behind. Washburn Street is now clear of the clutter and is no longer a safety concern for those living in the area…

Phys.org, September 10, 2020: Historical climate fluctuations in Central Europe overestimated due to tree ring analysis

“Was there a warm period in the Middle Ages that at least comes close to today’s? Answers to such fundamental questions are largely sought from tree ring data,” explains lead author Josef Ludescher of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “Our study now shows that previous climate analyses from tree ring data significantly overestimate the climate’s persistence. A warm year is indeed followed by another warm rather than a cool year, but not as long and strongly as tree rings would initially suggest. If the persistence tendency is correctly taken into account, the current warming of Europe appears even more exceptional than previously assumed.” To examine the quality of temperature series obtained from tree rings, Josef Ludescher and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (PIK) as well as Armin Bunde (Justus-Liebig-University Giessen) and Ulf Büntgen (Cambridge University) focused on Central Europe. Main reason for this approach was the existing long observation series dating back to the middle of the 18th century to compare with the tree ring data. In addition, there are archives that accurately recorded the beginning of grape and grain harvests and even go back to the 14th century. These records, as well as the width of tree rings, allow temperature reconstructions. A warm summer is indicated by a wide tree ring and an early start of the harvest, a cold summer by a narrow tree ring and a late start of the harvest. The trees studied are those from altitudes where temperature has a strong influence on growth and where there is enough water for growth even in warm years…

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, September 10, 2020: Legendary West Coast apple tree dies short of its 200th birthday

An apple tree thought to be the oldest in the Pacific Northwest has died at 194 years of age. The Old Apple Tree in Vancouver, Washington, was planted in 1826 when fur traders of the Hudson’s Bay Company settled in the area. It was considered the matriarch of the region’s bustling apple industry and produced a green apple that was on the sour side but great for baking. “While we knew this day would come, we hoped it was still years away,” Charles Ray, urban forester for the City of Vancouver, told CNN. Around 2015, the team of experts caring for the tree noticed that the cambium layer — the growing part of the trunk — was starting to die back, Ray explained. That contributed to the creation of a spiral crack in the trunk, which hollowed out over the years. The tree finally died in June. “The tree itself has taken on its own persona. It’s a living organism, just like us, and it’s been faced with a lifetime of challenges,” Ray said. “It stood there for generations and witnessed the world change around it.” “When anybody speaks of the oldest apple tree in the Northwest, everybody knows it was that apple tree,” David Benscoter, a retired FBI agent who now runs The Lost Apple Project, told CNN. “I’m sure people never thought it could reach that age…”

Tallahassee, Florida, Democrat, September 10, 2020: How to manage drought stress in trees with mulch, water, soil care

Could your trees be dying of thirst? We’ve recently had some heavy rains so surely there is no issue for our favorite trees, right? While we commonly have dramatic heavy rain events, the effects do not always last long. A few days of no rain and our landscapes begin to dry out once again. The thirst that mature trees have is significant. A single live oak can consume hundreds of gallons of water in a single day. That is why we need to constantly consider the needs of our trees and our soil. According to NOAA, the Florida Panhandle has been in a significant long-term deficit for rainfall. NOAA measures drought conditions on a bi-weekly basis and for 80% of the last 32 months, we have been in a below normal or drought condition. This has a number of effects on mature trees that are easily undetected. One of the first things to happen when the soil dries is that roots start to die, starting with the small fine roots first. The dry soil becomes hardened and often filled with air gaps. Roots become dry, brittle, and die. This leads to decay and one of many root rot diseases. Next, the air fills the pores, cracks, and gaps in the soil. That air has to escape before moisture can occupy the pore space…

Sacramento, California, Bee, September 9, 2020: ‘Ground zero’ for dead trees. How California mega-drought turned Creek Fire into inferno

California’s mega-drought officially ended three years ago but may have turned the Creek Fire into a monster. By killing millions of trees in the Sierra National Forest, the historic drought that ended in 2017 left an incendiary supply of dry fuel that appears to have intensified the fire that’s ravaged more than 140,000 acres in the southern Sierra Nevada, wildfire scientists and forestry experts said Tuesday. “The energy produced off that is extraordinary,” said Scott Stephens, a wildfire scientist at UC Berkeley. “Large amounts of woody material burning simultaneously.” What’s more, the Creek Fire is shaping up as a frightening template for other wildfires that could ignite in heavily forested areas that suffered extensive tree loss. “This might provide this first glimpse into the future we’re in for,” said LeRoy Westerling, a climate and wildfire scientist at UC Merced. Brittany Covich of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, a state agency that funds projects aimed at reducing wildfire risks in forests, said what’s happening in Fresno County could easily take place in the Tahoe National Forest and other areas with lots of dead trees.“That’s the fear we have across the Sierra Nevada,” Covich said…

Albuquerque, New Mexico, KOB-TV, September 9, 2020: Tree removal companies experience surge in business following storm

The storm Tuesday evening rolled in with business opportunities for tree removal companies. The owners of Eric’s Tree Care, Joel and Bonnie McMullan, said their team was out removing debris from people’s homes since the winds hit. “The phone has been going off since about four yesterday,” said Joel. His wife has been trying to keep up with the calls. “It’s been very hectic. We’ve had limbs fall on houses. Split trees, split in half. We have uprooted trees. The whole thing falls over,” she said. Bonnie said the extra business is a blessing. “It’s important for us to go out and help get these limbs out of people’s houses and everything. We want to make sure their houses are ok,” said Bonnie. However, she said it’s also sort of a curse. They have a crew of only six people. “We’re trying to get to as many as we can, but there’s only so many we can get to in a day,” she said. Other companies like Baca’s Trees are in the same boat. The business says they got more than 50 calls before noon for removals. Needless to say, they’re busy. But they ask people to still call the professionals. Bonnie said it can be dangerous if someone tries to handle a downed tree…

Fremont, Ohio, News-Messenger, September 9, 2020: Tree of Heaven is a devil to control from spreading

“There’s a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of cellar gratings. It is the only tree that grows out of cement. It grows lushly … survives without sun, water, and seemingly earth. It would be considered beautiful except that there are too many of it.” — ”A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” Betty Smith’s best-selling 1943 novel traced the story of Francie Nolan from her impoverished early life in the tenement districts of Brooklyn in 1912 to her first year at the University of Michigan. The tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima, was her metaphor for Francie’s iron determination to grow and prosper, even under the most adverse conditions. Smith could hardly have picked a more apt symbol of persistence and the resolve to succeed at all costs. It’s difficult not to admire the tree’s robust life force. On the other hand … For modern urban planners and all but the most forgiving of homeowners, Ailanthus is largely considered a true pain in the derriere. Interesting history, interesting ecology, but an absolute bear to control…

Futurism, September 9, 2020: Too Much CO2 Is Killing Trees, Scientists Say

As humanity continues to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, scientists had long hoped that a portion of it would get gobbled up by plants — including the Earth’s vast forests — instead of contributing to climate change. They were right — to an extent. The prediction that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide would speed up forest growth held up. But new research suggests that these fast-growing trees also die significantly younger, according to Agence France-Presse, at which point they’d release carbon once again as they decompose. Unfortunately, the link between higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and accelerated lifespans was observed across a wide span of tree types and species, according to research published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. That suggests that other trees may not be able to pick up the slack. “Our findings, very much like the story of the tortoise and the hare, indicate that there are traits within the fastest growing trees that make them vulnerable, whereas slower growing trees have traits that allow them to persist,” study coauthor and State University of New York forestry expert Steve Voelker said in a press release. For the last few decades, AFP reports, society has reaped the benefits of forests’ ability to absorb atmospheric carbon. But those benefits may soon end, as a sort of environmental reckoning approaches — though, to be fair, University of Arizona researchers found in 2013 that decomposing forests release less carbon than previously predicted…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, September 8, 2020: Bay Area farm loses 100,000 bay trees in fire — but it’s not the end for this spice company

From the look of it, one Vacaville family farm’s blackened soil and silvery white ghosts of some 100,000 trees might have looked like the end for their spice business. But the Attard family survived a similar fire almost 32 years ago. And this time, they knew something they didn’t know then: Their California laurel trees could start growing back within months. Paul Attard and his family, of Napa Mountain Spice Co., sell certified organic bay leaves to Spice Islands and other companies. They harvest them from the mostly wild California laurel trees that cover their property on a ridge straddling Solano and Napa counties. The land happens to be located right near one of the remote cameras used to monitor wildlife that caught some of the dramatic first moments of the LNU Lightning Complex the night of Aug. 18, which ultimately killed five people and has destroyed almost 1,500 structures. Due to the fire, Attard estimates the company will lose $1 million in sales…

London, UK, Daily Mail, September 9. 2020: Global warming: CO2 ‘reduces lifespan of trees’, study says

Trees with faster growth rates die younger across multiple countries and species, which reduces their overall carbon storage capacity, a new study claims. Researchers analysed tree-ring data of more than 200,000 records of 110 species across Europe, Asia and the Americas. They found faster tree growth, indicated by tree rings, is causing earlier mortality and the release of the carbon back into the atmosphere. Many scientists believe planting more trees will offset the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated from human activity. But shorter lifespans of trees will actually make them grow faster and have less time to absorb atmospheric CO2 than anticipated, the new study claims. The new study further calls into question predictions that greater tree growth means greater carbon storage in forests in the long term…

Anchorage, Alaska, Daily News, September 5, 2020: Why are spruce trees turning orange in the Alaska Range?

While wandering middle Alaska this summer, I noticed orange spruce trees along the entire length of the Denali Highway, from Paxson to Cantwell. In what looked like a dendrological case of frostbite, tips of every branch were afflicted with something. The real show happened when the wind blew: An entire valley glowed apricot. After the wind died, a Tang-like orange powder floated on rivers and puddles. It was as if someone had pepper-sprayed the Denali Highway. I suspected an insect outbreak — maybe the orange dust was millions of little eggs laid on spruce branches — but insect expert Derek Sikes of the University of Alaska Museum of the North said bugs were not to blame. It was a tree disease known as spruce needle rust, which infects only the current year’s needles of white, black and Sitka spruce trees. The orange powder is composed of millions of tiny spores, which the rust fungus uses to reproduce. Paul Hennon, an expert on forest diseases, wrote about spruce needle rust fungus in a 2001 bulletin for the Alaska branch of the USDA Forest Service…

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Patriot-News, September 8, 2020: Tree falls on man in York County, killing him: coroner

A man died Monday in Warrington Township when the tree he was cutting down fell on top of him, authorities said. The York County Coroner’s Office was called around 7:33 p.m. for a special rescue on the 800 block of Old Mountain Road. The man was pronounced dead an hour later, according to Coroner Pamela L. Gay. Gay said the man’s death was accidental and the result of “traumatic asphyxiation.” His identity will be released once family and next of kin are notified…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, September 7, 2020: These funny looking, fuzzy orange galls won’t hurt your oak tree, or you

Orange galls, fuzzy galls or fuzzy orange galls, no matter what you call them if you have an oak tree in your yard or on your property you likely have them. The culprit is the Cynipid wasp, a tiny member of the Vespidae family that lays its eggs on oak tree leaves. “The gall is the plant or tree’s reaction to the insect’s egg,” said Jim Dill, pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “The leaf tissue grows around the wasp egg.” The gall then serves as a protective shell in which the wasp larvae can grow and feed, Dill said. In the case of the fuzzy orange galls, these growths look like tiny balls of fluff. Early in the summer, they are a light tan. As the season goes on they start to darken until in late August and September they are deep orange and brown. Around that time the gall, with the wasp larvae inside, falls off the leaf and the wasp will burrow into the ground until it pupates. It’s a lifecycle that can last one or two years, Dill said…

Sacramento, California, KCRA-TV, September 5, 2020: PG&E to cut down 200+ trees in Nevada County

People in Nevada City learned this week that Pacific Gas and Electric will begin cutting down more than 200 trees beginning next week. PG&E said it’s out of safety. Some residents, however, claim the utility is not handling the tree removal process correctly. Bob Nienaber, who lives along West Broad Street in Nevada City, recently noticed somebody spray painting the tree in his front yard and wondered what was going on. When he asked what crews were doing, he said he was told “PG&E was going to be removing a couple of trees in its path of sight to make sure the lines were safe.” When he got in his car and drove up the street, he said he “started seeing the markings everywhere.” Nienaber learned PG&E is scheduled to chop down 263 area trees beginning the day after Labor Day. City Planner Amy Wolfson confirmed the action. “About a hundred of those are on city property,” she said. “And then the remaining trees are all on private property.” Workers had marked which ones would be coming down with yellow spray paint. PG&E sent KCRA a statement, saying in part: “PG&E is required by law to assess and manage vegetation that poses a threat, including trimming overhanging limbs and branches above power lines…”

Las Vegas, Nevada, Sun, September 7, 2020: Climate change threatens Joshua Tree’s traditional home

Drive just outside of Las Vegas and they appear. Twisted, warped, their branches reaching out like alien hands, the Joshua tree is a symbol of the Mojave Desert. But the survival of the tree in its traditional range is at risk because of climate change, according to the National Park Service. With the desert getting hotter, drier and more susceptible to wildfires, some of the tree’s habitat could become inhospitable to the plant, scientists say. Joshua Tree National Park, about 200 miles from Las Vegas in California, could be virtually bare of the plant by 2070, according to a 2019 study by the University of California, Riverside. In the best-case scenarios, a sharp reduction of greenhouse gases could keep the trees at 18.6% of their historic range — from western Arizona to eastern California, the study found. The demise of the tree would “represent the collapse of the higher-elevation Mojave Desert ecosystem,” said Patrick Donnelly, the state director for the Center for Biological Diversity. The tree provides food and shelter for many desert animals, he said. The Joshua Tree Genome Project, a multistate scientific collaboration, has set out to sequence the tree’s genome to gain insight into how the tree might adapt to a changing climate…

Ars Technica, September 5, 2020: Could a tree help find a decaying corpse nearby?

Since 1980, the University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center has plumbed the depths of the most macabre of sciences: the decomposition of human bodies. Known colloquially as the Body Farm, here scientists examine how donated cadavers decay, like how the microbiomes inside us go haywire after death. That microbial activity leads to bloat, and—eventually—a body will puncture. Out flows a rank fluid of nutrients, especially nitrogen, for plants on the Body Farm to subsume. That gave a group of University of Tennessee, Knoxville researchers an idea: what if that blast of nutrients actually changes the color and reflectance of a tree’s leaves? And, if so, what if law enforcement authorities could use a drone to scan a forest, looking for these changes to find deceased missing people? Today in the journal Trends in Plant Science, researchers are formally floating the idea—which, to be clear, is still theoretical. The researchers are just beginning to study how a plant’s phenotype—its physical characteristics—might change if a human body is composing nearby. “What we’re proposing is to use plants as indicators of human decomposition, to hopefully be able to use individual trees within the forest to help pinpoint where someone has died, to help in body recovery,” says UT Knoxville plant biologist Neal Stewart, coauthor on the new paper. As a large mammal like a human decomposes in a forest, its breakdown transforms the soil in a number of ways. The body’s “necrobiome”—all the bacteria that was already in it when it was alive—replicates like crazy in the absence of an immune system. This necrobiome mixes with the microbes in the dirt. “The soil microbiome will change and, of course, the plant roots will also sense some changes,” says Stewart. But, he adds, “we don’t really know what those changes are…”

Chicago, Illinois, WBBM-TV, September 3, 2020: Gary Resident Says Street Overrun By Weeds And Trees Is Unsafe

A senior citizen in Gary, Indiana, says the city has let her street get completely overrun by trees and undergrowth and it’s unsafe for her now. For 20 years Doris Crockett has called DeKalb Street home, but now it’s a headache. “There’s debris all along there,” she says. “I have been in the bed, and one of them limbs fell on my bedroom, sounds like a bomb hits my ceiling. They let everything grow off. They don’t care. It’s become a jungle. I hate to say it, but the city has allowed this block to go.” It’s so bad even delivery drivers get confused. “FedEx has rung my bell because they want to go down the street. I say, ‘You’ll have to turn around. The street is closed off,’” Crockett says. That same overgrowth has made it really easy to hide various activities on the block, too. “There was a trailer in the trees, and I think they were making out every day,” Crockett says. On a more serious note, she says not only has the overgrowth posed a danger to her house and her car but also she has caught people using the street like a junkyard. “They’re so used to seeing in my window to see if they’re dumping that they turn around and come back out,” she said. “One time someone brought a car and put it on fire.” Since her husband died, 70-year-old Crockett has been struggling to adapt to living on her own. She wrote a letter last year begging the city for help with DeKalb Street…

Kansas City, Missouri, Star, September 3, 2020: Tree-cutter pinned to ground for 4 days when it falls on him, Minnesota sheriff says

A man was trapped under a tree for four days before help arrived, a Minnesota sheriff says. According to the Redwood County Sheriff’s Office, Jonathan Ceplecha, age 59, was cutting down trees when a tree fell on him pinning both legs under the tree Ceplecha had been pinned under the tree since Thursday, August 27 – over 100 hours. After nearly two hours, the Redwood Falls Fire Department extricated Ceplecha, and he was airlifted from the scene. Ceplecha lives alone near Redwood Falls, and his ex-wife went to check on him after growing suspicious when he missed work on Friday and Monday, KMSP reported. It wasn’t until Monday afternoon that the sheriff’s office and fire department learned of the accident, officials say. After rescuers arrived, it took them almost two hours to free the man from under the tree…

Phys.org, September 2, 2020: Oldest radiocarbon dated temperate hardwood tree in the world discovered in southern Italy

Radiocarbon dating of five large and potentially old sessile oaks from Aspromonte National Parks has revealed a long lifespan ranging from 934 ± 65 to 570 ± 45 years. For a long time, majestic oaks have been considered a symbol of longevity, and this study proves that a millennium age horizon is attainable longevity in angiosperms growing at high-elevation belt in Mediterranean mountains of South Italy. “Studying the longevity of trees in response to climate change under different environments is a research priority for both nature conservation and climate change mitigation strategies,” says Gianluca Piovesan from University of Tuscia, Dafne. “For a long time, majestic oaks have been considered a symbol of longevity. In a study just published in the journal Ecology, we dated five large and potentially old sessile oaks from Aspromonte National Parks using radiocarbon, revealing unexpected long lifespan ranging from 934 ± 65 to 570 ± 45 years. Jordan Palli and Michele Baliva from Dendrology Lab, University of Tuscia, say: “The sampling was arduous for two reasons: Firstly, these ancient trees stand on steep, rocky slopes that are difficult to reach and to walk through. Secondly, very old individuals are often rotten or hollowed in the inner part of the stem, given the centuries of exposure to the elements and to natural pests and pathogens. This means that the oldest rings were often missing or severely degraded, challenging the identification and collection of the closest tree rings to the pith for radiocarbon dating. In the Dendrology Lab we carried out a careful stereoscope screening to identify the oldest rings in our samples. Given the very narrow size of the rings, we had to use a scalpel to collect them…”

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Sun-Sentinel, September 3, 2020: Real estate Q&A: Who should pay to remove tree that straddles property line?

Q: Could you please clarify the obligations of neighbors who have a tree that straddles the property line? Our insurance company is requiring that the tree come down due to liability to the house. Should our neighbor have to pay some portion of the bill to remove the tree? — Linc
A: When a tree straddles the property line, it creates a few thorny issues to resolve. To do so, we will need to first look at tree law in other situations. When a tree is on your neighbor’s property, but its limbs or roots extend onto your property, you have both the right to trim them back to the property line so long as you do not damage the overall health of the tree. You also have the responsibility to do this before it hurts your property. If your neighbor’s tree is healthy and a branch breaks off in a storm, you cannot hold your neighbor responsible, even if it falls on your roof. The law both allows and requires you to protect your property in this situation by trimming the branches back. However, if the tree is unhealthy or dead when it falls, your neighbor will be responsible for the damage it causes. This is an incentive for him to maintain his property in a way that does not harm others. Both parties own a tree that straddles the property line. Trimming the branches and cleaning up the fallen leaves is up to each owner on their side of the line…

Office of Texas Attorney General, September 2, 2020: AG Paxton: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Awarded $20 Million Settlement for Bastrop State Park Restoration

Attorney General Ken Paxton today commended a settlement awarding $20 million to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) to remedy devastation caused by the failure of Asplundh Tree Expert, LLC to properly manage vegetation growth. Almost nine years ago to the day, unmaintained trees damaged power lines and sparked a wildfire that destroyed 1,700 homes and burned 96 percent of the Bastrop State Park, which is one of only seven state parks across the country that have been designated as a National Historical Landmark. “This settlement marks a monumental step in the continued restoration of the Bastrop State Park and healing of this beautiful Texas community,” said Attorney General Paxton. “After fires and floods brought colossal damage, TPWD has been expertly nursing this state treasure back to health. As more work is still needed, I commend this settlement and the hard work of everyone involved for providing much needed remedy to this stunning Texas landmark…”

Denver, Colorado, KMGH-TV, September 2, 2020: Why are some of Colorado’s aspen trees brown? “The precipitation kind of turned off”

Along the scenic drive through the Pike National Forest, aspen trees line Highway 285 between Grant and Jefferson. But some of those trees are not covered in their usual green-about-to-turn-yellow leaves. Many of them are brown and dead. Several Denver7 viewers and employees noticed this on their weekend treks into the mountains, and raised the questions of “why?” And “what does that mean for leaf-peeping season?” Dr. Dan West is an entomologist with the Colorado Forest Service, specializing in trees and tree issues. He blamed the issue on drought and bugs. “As they no longer have enough water, the tips (of the leaves) start to burn and we see this brown margin or the outside edge of the leaf turns brown,” he said. The entire state of Colorado is seeing some form of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Conditions in many of the mountains west of Denver are dealing with “severe” or “extreme” drought. “The precipitation kind of turned off,” West said…

Scientific American, September 2, 2020: Death by Lightning Is Common for Tropic Trees

The chance that a human being like you will be struck by lightning is miniscule. But what if you’re a tall tree in the tropics? “Lightning happens in milliseconds. We can’t predict where it’s going to be and we generally can’t find it after it’s happened, so what a hard thing to study.” Evan Gora, an ecologist at the University of Louisville. Now, for the first time, Gora and his colleagues were able to quantify the effects of lightning strikes in tropical forests around the world—thanks to satellite data and a network of ground sensors. “We saw that forests that have more lightning strikes hitting per hectare per year have fewer large trees per hectare, presumably because they’re killed by lightning. More biomass turns over every year, so basically the lightning seems to be affecting the forests and causing trees to die. And then they have less total biomass…”

Detroit, Michigan, News, September 2, 2020: Utility, police say tree’s fatal fall had no human cause

Officials said Wednesday that further investigation has determined that an incident in which a Clarkston motorist was killed by a falling tree was nothing more than a freak accident. Ronald Ohlinger, 41, was driving his 2005 Chrysler Town and Country minivan south on Williams Lake Road approaching Vanden Drive in White Lake Township about 6 p.m. Monday when a tree on the west side of the street fell on top of the vehicle. Ohlinger’s 18-year-old stepdaughter suffered only minor injuries but also had to be cut out of the vehicle by emergency response workers. Ohlinger, who owned a tattoo parlor and pizzeria in Clarkston, was pronounced dead at the scene from his resulting injuries. An autopsy determined cause of death was extreme trauma to the head. Neighbors reported to media outlets their feeling the accident could have been prevented and theorized that a tree trimming crew under contract with DTE Energy had made the tree unstable. That theory was disputed Wednesday by others, including the utility, which said the crew “never touched that particular tree…”

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, September 1, 2020: Group protests removal of 125-year-old-plus Pleasanton tree

A group of Pleasanton residents gathered at sunrise Tuesday beneath a heritage tree that’s at least as old as the city itself to protest its impending removal. The tree has survived major earthquakes and both world wars, and witnessed the city grow from a time when the transcontinental railroad was new, and ranchers, horse breeders and dairy farmers flooded the area because of its favorable climate and vast land. But now, the Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus tree that has stood tall at Lions Wayside Park on 4401 First St. in downtown for at least 125 years will have to be cut down because of a sulphur fungus that has taken over, according to the city. The tree is sick and decaying, the fungus incurable — and it’s now become a public safety hazard and too dangerous to let it continue to live, the city says. “You just don’t kill someone because they’re ill,” said Wayne Strickler, 81, who has been a Pleasanton resident for 50 years…

Detroit, Michigan, WXYZ-TV, September 1, 2020: Neighbors say Oakland County man’s death caused by falling tree could’ve been prevented

Questions are being raised after a falling tree suddenly takes the life of a local family man who was driving along a busy road in Oakland County. Some in White Lake Township say it’s an accident that could have been prevented. “He was a great guy who would help anybody out he could, like they say he’d give the shirt off his back,” said Tom Meloche, the best friend of Ron Ohlinger. Family members say 42-year-old Ohlinger was devoted to his kids and wife more than anything else. He was also known to so many throughout his community as a proud owner of local tattoo and pizza shops. After word spread of his sudden death Monday night, after a large tree fell onto his minivan, countless social media posts began immediately sharing condolences and sympathy online. “He started with a tattoo company in Clarkston then a pizza shop next door, and everything he did was for his family,” Meloche said. “They just opened a second location in Waterford…”

Grist, September 2, 2020: Wildfires are getting worse. Will forests start to burn themselves out?

Thousands of lightning strikes have put California under a “fire siege” since mid-August, setting parched grasses, shrubs, and trees ablaze across the state. Last week, when word got out that wildfires had entered Big Basin Redwoods State Park, many feared for the fate of its namesake redwood forest. But by Friday, those fears were dispelled. The “Mother of the Forest” and other ancient trees remained healthy. This was not the first time their thick, fire-resistant bark has withstood such heat. Forests in the West are used to fire, even dependent on fire, and many tree species have adaptations that help them survive or regenerate in the wake of one. But wildfires are changing, becoming more severe and more frequent. As the climate warms and heat and drought in the West become more extreme, these shifts are expected to intensify. The result is a Gordian Knot of feedback loops that threaten Western forests in unprecedented ways, and scientists are racing to understand how the relationship between forests and fire is changing in response. One question is whether the increase in fire frequency might eventually burn itself out. “There is this hope, I guess you could call it a hope in some way, that that will eventually cause a negative feedback,” said Briam Buma, an ecologist at the University of Colorado in Denver. “You’ll get a bunch of fires and everything will be burned up and there won’t be a lot of fuel left, and so fire frequency may go down…”

San Luis Obispo, California, Tribune, September 1, 2020: Exploding trees? Here’s why we see big branches fall during hot summer days

The historic mid-August heat wave started with one of the most significant outbreaks of thunderstorms that I have ever seen in California’s coastal regions. These thunderstorms created a flurry of dry-lightning strikes that started more than 700 wildfires throughout Northern and Central California. So far this year, around 2,500 square miles have been burned in California. The Golden State is on track to break the previous record of 3,125 square miles burnt in 2018. In fact, the worst part of the fire season is still ahead, as the dry and hot Santa Lucia (northeasterly) winds historically start to develop in the late summer and fall. The mid-August heat wave of 2020 smashed numerous temperature records. Many more would have been broken if it were not for the shade from the extensive and thick smoke plumes that covered most of the state…

San Jose, California, Mercury News, August 31, 2020: In California, fire-ravaged trees a peril in wildfires’ wake

The flames are mostly gone after roaring through the coastal mountains northwest of Santa Cruz, but the danger lingers. Smoke still billows around the bases of trees that hang ominously over the roads. Some trees wearily rest on their neighbors, others lean out at angles, some dangle massive broken limbs. They’re known among firefighters as “widow-makers,” perilously suspended branches that can fall without warning and injure or kill crew members working below. It is a peril firefighters are all too familiar with — and carefully trying to eliminate as they begin to allow more than 40,000 evacuated residents to return to areas ravaged by the CZU August Lightning Complex fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. “A lot of the fire weakened trees are beginning to fall,” Mark Brunton, a battalion chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Friday. “There’s a lot of fire-weakened trees in there…”

Nashville, Tennessee, WKRN-TV, August 31, 2020: Nashville Tree Conservation Corps replacing trees destroyed by March tornado

The March Tornadoes devastated Middle Tennessee, destroying homes, businesses and uprooting trees. One local organization’s goal is to replace some of what was lost. The Nashville Tree Conservation Corps has been working to replace trees that were uprooted by this year’s severe weather events. Since March, the Corps has been working hard to replace the trees destroyed in many Nashville neighborhoods. News 2 spoke to Jim Gregory, Chair of the Nashville Tree Conservation Corps, about their efforts. “By November, there will be six semi-truckloads of trees coming into Nashville. The majority of those have already been delivered. Due to a very generous contribution from Hale and Hines Nursery, we were able to move 1,000 trees, four semi-truck loads of trees, within 45 days…”

CBC/Radio Canada, August 31, 2020: Deadly affliction in elm trees creeps into Alberta

Two cases of a disease fatal to elm trees were recently discovered in Lethbridge. Dutch elm disease is a fungus and will kill an elm if infected, says Janet Feddes-Calpas, executive director of the Society to Prevent Dutch Elm Disease, a non-profit organization. The disease has killed millions of trees in North America since it was discovered on the continent nearly 100 years ago. And until now, Alberta had successfully kept out the disease, with only one previous case. That was in Wainwright in the late 1990s. But in early August, two elm trees growing side by side in Lethbridge tested positive for the fungus. Someone spotted the trees, which seemed to have the typical symptoms like wilting leaves and flagging, which is when the leaves on a whole branch turn yellow. “Because of the seriousness of the disease … those trees that were confirmed were removed and immediately buried,” said Feddes-Calpas. As to how the trees got infected, Feddes-Calpas says the affliction can spread from tree to tree by elm bark beetles or by root grass…

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, August 31, 2020: Pleasanton readies removal of heritage tree from park

One of the city’s oldest trees will be removed from a downtown park this week, officials said Monday. According to a weekend post on a city social-media account, the tree was “has been sick with an incurable sulphur fungus that has spread throughout the tree, and will need to be removed.” The tree, a Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus, towers over a meadow within Lions Wayside Park, 4401 First St., in the city’s historic downtown. A 2013 city park and recreation commission agenda described the tree as the city’s largest, at over 100 feet tall and more than 33 feet in circumference. The park regularly hosts concerts, picnics, pet parades and other gatherings, drawing residents and visitors to relax underneath or near it over many year. Heritage trees, covered by the city’s tree preservation ordinance, are usually 55 inches or larger when measured 4.5 feet off the ground, or at least 35 feet in height, and can be any species and either publicly or privately owned…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, August 30, 2020: ‘I loved walking into that tree’: Docent waits on the fate of one beloved Big Basin redwood

Elise Scripps is worried about a tree. Eight years ago — before anyone imagined that California’s wildfires could get so bad — the San Jose naturalist volunteered as a docent at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, leading hikes around the Redwood Loop. The short trail near the visitor center was the park’s most popular attraction, and there Scripps introduced visitors to some of the region’s tallest and widest old-growth coast redwoods: the Mother of the Forest tree, a towering 293-footer, and the Father of the Forest tree, 251 feet tall and 18.47 feet across. It was Big Basin’s magnificent trees — the longest contiguous stand of old growth redwoods south of San Francisco — that in 1902 led to the formation of the state park, California’s first. Scripps loved every tree in the park, but one of her favorites wasn’t on the loop: the Auto tree. When the tours were over, she would sometimes visit the tree by herself. Estimated to be more than 1,500 years old, the Auto tree was one of the oldest trees in the park and it stretched 282 feet in the air from not just one but two trunks. Over time the tree had endured so many fires that its heartwood had burned out, leaving its interior hollow and distinguished by a large scar. It seemed miraculous to Scripps, but somehow the tree was still alive, and continued to grow. Even more amazing, the gap seemed to be shrinking over time, a tree healing its own wound. “It really embodied a redwood and its ability to triumph,” she says. “I loved walking into that tree and looking up.” Two weeks ago, lightning set off the largest conflagration in the region’s recorded history — the CZU Lightning August Complex fire. It tore across more than 83,000 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains, leveling Big Basin’s historic headquarters, main lodge, ranger station and many other structures, and extending over all 18,000 acres of the park…

CNN, August 30, 2020: The bizarre story of a man who tried to murder a 600-year-old tree

In May 1989, a bizarre murder attempt in Austin, Texas, gripped the nation and made worldwide news. The details of the case were unusual, and unlike anything police had seen before. The victim? Austin’s oldest resident, a nearly 600-year-old tree known as Treaty Oak. Treaty Oak is a spectacular specimen. It is centuries older than the city it resides in and stretches out to a spread of nearly 100 feet. In the 1920s, the American Forestry Association named the Treaty Oak the most perfect specimen of a tree in North America. And thanks to a citywide fundraiser in the 1930s, the tree even owns the park it lives on. “Certainly there are not many trees, not just in Austin or in Texas, but in the world, that own their own land,” said John Giedraitis, Austin’s first city forester. When Giedraitis took on his role as a forester with the parks department in 1985, he was well acquainted with the Treaty Oak. “Well, certainly we had several historic trees in Austin … but the most important tree was Treaty Oak,” he said. Native American tribes, including the Tonkawa and the Comanche, believed the tree was sacred. Students would take field trips to the Treaty Oak every year, and residents found shade and comfort under its cover during the heat of the summer. And for Giedraitis, the tree holds an even closer place in his heart. “When I decided to propose to my wife, I proposed under the Treaty Oak,” he said. So, when evidence of criminality against the tree surfaced, Giedraitis could not understand why anyone would harm such a beloved piece of Texas history…

Concord, New Hampshire, Monitor, August 30, 2020: Those webs in trees are ugly but not really a problem

So many bad things are happening in the environment that the sight of what looks like huge balls of cotton candy all over some trees feels like the latest new disaster. But don’t fret: They’re routine and not as bad as they look. These aren’t gypsy moths or tent caterpillars, both of which can kill trees. These are fall webworms, whose nest are ugly but almost never a real problem. There’s certainly no need to spend money on pesticides, which probably wouldn’t penetrate the webs even if you tried. “Don’t panic” is the succinct advice from UNH Cooperative Extension in its online page about fall webworms. It explains that these are moth caterpillars, part of a complicated lifecycle. The moths hatch in mid- to late-July and the larvae crawl up the tree and eat leaves for a while inside a silky home they weave to protect themselves, then make a cocoon and spend the winter as pupae in the soil. In early summer the moths emerge, find a mate and lay eggs, which hatch soon afterward and start the cycle over again. The best bet if you hate the sight of the webs is to pull them down with a rake or a pole. Even better, says Co-op Extension: “Treat yourself to a hot cup of coffee and let birds, insect predators and internal parasites keep fall webworms in check,” although poking a couple of holes in a web can help those predators get in. No action is really needed because, despite an alarming appearance, the webs do little harm. Webworms appear late in summer, after trees have already stored much of the energy they need for winter and they are native to the area so that our forests have learned to live with them…

Bloomberg City Lab, August 28, 2020: Can Planting Trees Make a City More Equitable?

As the U.S. grapples with natural disasters and racial injustice, one coalition of U.S. cities, companies and nonprofits sees a way to make an impact on both fronts: trees. Specifically, they committed to planting and restoring 855 million of them by 2030 as part of the Trillion Trees Initiative, a global push to encourage reforestation to capture carbon and slow the effects of global heating. Announced on Thursday, it’s the first nationwide pledge to the program, and additionally noteworthy because the U.S. group — which includes Microsoft Corp. and Mastercard Inc. — will focus on urban plantings as means of improving air quality in communities that have been disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change. “We’re passionate about urban forestry and the goal of tree equity,” says Jad Daley, president and chief executive officer of American Forests, the longtime conservation group that’s helped organize the pledge. “It’s not just about more trees in cities. If you show me a map of tree cover in any city, you’re showing me a map of race and income levels. We see this as nothing less than a moral imperative…”

Passaic, New Jersey, North Jersey.com, August 18, 2020: This 200-year-old oak tree survived wars, droughts before snapped by Tropical Storm Isaias

An acorn took root, perhaps sometime around the founding of the republic, and grew into an oak tree that survived this country’s most storied events: wars, droughts and economic depressions, not to mention enormous amounts of development in southern Passaic County. The massive oak, however, met its match when Isaias blew through this month and snapped the tree in two. Its loss did not go unmourned. The Rev. Michael Lombardo of Wayne’s Our Lady of Consolation Church had a 56-year history with the tree, which for as long he can remember towered over the family home. Lombardo’s family moved to Totowa in 1964 after buying the house at the corner of Willard Avenue and Totowa Road. It helped cool the house in summer, its massive arms providing shade. Its loss was a loss for his family and the surrounding neighborhood…

Raleigh, North Carolina, News & Observer, August 18, 2020: 112 workers test positive for coronavirus at Alleghany County Christmas tree farm

COVID-19 outbreaks popping up in farms across rural North Carolina struck the small town of Sparta in the state’s northwestern corner and resulted in the single largest outbreak in Alleghany County. With 112 cases as of Tuesday, Bottomley Evergreens & Farms also has the biggest outbreak among farmworkers housed by farmers during the season, workers who are brought from Mexico with H-2A visas for temporary agricultural work. That’s more than a quarter of the farm’s nearly 400 workers. The outbreak is included along with 10 other farms in the list of congregate living facilities with active outbreaks maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services. Alleghany County had fewer than 70 cases at the end of July, until the virus broke out at the Bottomley Christmas tree farm, which employs nearly 400 workers. As of Monday, the county now has 180 cases. “It’s not particularly surprising where you’ve got such a large group of workers and essentially sharing housing spaces,” said Justin Flores, vice president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, the state’s only farmworker union. “…With just one or a few cases, it would pretty rapidly spread cases, and especially (when) you have folks that are either asymptomatic or not having severe enough symptoms to raise big flags…”

Schenectady, New York, Daily Gazette, August 19, 2020: Tree service vehicle takes down utility pole on Route 50 in Ballston

A tree service vehicle caught wires on Route 50 in the Town of Ballston Wednesday and brought down a utility pole Wednesday afternoon. A Wade’s Tree Service vehicle failed to lower its boom arm when exiting a work site on Route 50 near the intersections of McCrea Hill Road and Meadowbrook in the Town of Ballston. The arm became entangled in the overhead wires and brought down a nearby utility pole. The traffic signal at the intersection of Outlet Road and Route 50 was out of service due to the accident. A spokesperson for National Grid said no customers were impacted by the accident and crews were working at the scene. The repairs were expected to be completed by 7 p.m. Wednesday evening…

Mount Vernon, Iowa, The Gazette, August 18, 2020: Cornell’s beloved 170-year-old ginkgo tree badly damaged by derecho

A ginkgo tree outside the president’s house at Cornell College — older than the school itself — suffered a severe hit in last week’s derecho storm. According to the Cornell Report, the college’s alumni magazine, at one time the 85-foot ginkgo was dubbed a “State Champion tree … the largest reported of (its) species in the State of Iowa” by the Iowa Conservation Commission. The facilities team at Cornell believes the ginkgo lost about half its body in the storm. Tree experts will examine whether it can remain. Jill Hawk, public relations director at Cornell, said that 10 companies currently are working to make repairs to campus. The college made the decision to delay the start of classes by two weeks, until Sept. 7. “While the storm damaged more than 100 trees, many of which will need to be removed, several of our largest tree specimens appear, for now, to have minimal damage,” Hawk said. “That includes the massive cottonwood just in front of King Chapel and the white ash, which was #5 in the state in height before they stopped keeping track — just below the cottonwood on the hill. Also standing is the blue spruce that was the state’s third-largest tree of its kind, a huge knotted redbud, and a stand of four huge larch trees lining First Street in front of the Scott Alumni Center…”

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, August 17, 2020: Neighbors rescue 80-year-old woman after fallen tree traps her inside Framingham home

A group of neighbors rescued an 80-year-old woman Sunday morning from her Framingham home after a massive tree crashed through its roof and trapped her inside, officials said. Teddy Quintal was having brunch in his home around 10:45 a.m. when he heard a loud crash next door at 37 Rockridge Road. “We had very little understanding of what caused it until we saw the tree on the house,” Quintal said. “I ran over right away.” An oak tree that was abut 100 feet tall had toppled onto a one-story house, trapping the home’s lone occupant inside. Quintal tried to get to the front door, but it was blocked by damage from the tree. He ran around to the back of the house and looked in through the windows, yelling to get someone’s attention. “That’s when I saw her moving inside. She was a little disoriented because of the impact,” Quintal said. Three more neighbors rushed down the street to help. Quintal said he ran back to his house and grabbed masks for everyone to wear before helping his neighbors pull the woman out through a window…

Phys.org, August 17, 2020: Scientists unlock Alpine trees’ molecular defence

Needle bladder rust causes Norway spruce needles to yellow and fall out, causing a significant reduction in growth. Scientists in Austria have unlocked a natural defence mechanism that the species can use to fend off the potentially fatal pathogen. The findings have been published in the BMC Genomics journal. Disease is one of the major threats facing trees around the globe, especially in a warming world where many organisms are finding themselves living in an environment in which they are under increasing levels of stress. It is widely predicted that invasive pathogens, and the insects that can spread them, are expected to thrive in a world experiencing climate change. In evolutionary terms, harmful pathogens developed alongside plants’ attempts to protect themselves, creating a multi-millennia cold war between biological kingdoms…

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 17, 2020: Could trees live forever? Scientists disagree

Trees do not pay taxes. Some seem to avoid death as well. Many of the world’s most ancient organisms are trees, including a 3,600-year-old cypress in Chile and a sacred fig in Sri Lanka that was planted in the third century B.C. But a paper published in the journal Trends in Plant Science — “Long-Lived Trees Are Not Immortal” — argues that even the most venerable trees have physiological limits. Sergi Munné-Bosch, a plant biologist at the University of Barcelona, wrote the article in response to a January study on ginkgo trees, which can live for more than 1,000 years. The study found that 600-year-old ginkgos are as reproductively and photosynthetically vigorous as their 20-year-old peers. Genetic analysis of the trees’ vascular cambium — a thin layer of cells that lies just underneath the bark and creates new tissue — showed “no evidence of senescence,” or cell death. Munné-Bosch said he found the paper “very interesting,” but disagreed with the study as interpreted in popular media. “In my opinion at least, there is no immortality,” he said. Those tree species that can live for millenniums have simple body plans and develop modularly, so they can replace parts they lose. They build on their own dead tissue, which provides support and volume at a low metabolic cost. The trunk of a very old tree might be 95% dead, Munné-Bosch said…

Phys.org, August 17, 2020: Study examines how adaptable common urban tree species are under drought conditions

Researchers in the Which Plant Where project based at Western Sydney University have assessed the physiological tolerance of five key urban tree species across four geographic locations as part of efforts to select species that are more likely to cope with heat and drought as they mature over the next decades. The five species identified—Lophostemon confertus (Brush Box/Queensland Box), Celtis australis (Nettle Tree), Cupaniopsis anarcardioides (Tuckeroo), Eucalyptus microcorys (Tallowwood) and Tristaniopsis laurina (Watergum)—represent commonly-planted tree in urban Australia and are from different backgrounds and locations of origin. According to Dr. Manuel Esperon-Rodriguez, lead author of the research at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, these key species could support significant efforts underway to increase the use of climate-ready tree species that will thrive in an increasingly warm and drier future. “We measure a species’ adaptiveness to heat and drought through measures such as leaf turgor, wood density, isotopic carbon analysis and leaf area,” said Dr. Esperon-Rodriguez. “Interestingly, the exotic and cooler-climate origin species such as Celtis and Tristaniopsis showed greater ‘plasticity’ under warmer conditions than the species that actually evolved in warmer climates such as Eucalyptus and Cupaniopsis. Plasticity is a term that refers to a species’ ability to modify its functions or features that show potential for better coping with the warmer and drier conditions, and could mean they are actually better suited to future climates,” Dr. Esperon-Rodriguez said…

Chicago, Illinois, Sun-Times, August 16, 2020: Trees: What to do after the storm hits

The ‘derecho’ storm that hit Chicago Monday felled thousands of trees, leaving downed trunks and limbs scattered across yards, streets and sidewalks. Afterward, 5,600 emergency calls were placed to the city’s Bureau of Forestry, according to Deputy Commissioner of Streets and Sanitation Malcolm Whiteside. The forestry bureau is part of that department. Many homeowners may still wonder about what’s next — how to remove the trees, what to do about broken limbs still teetering in the branches, how to save damaged trees, or how to replace their favorite maple. Where does my private land end, and public land begin? And how does this affect how I deal with storm-damaged trees around me? Although it’s clear the street is public land and your yard is private, the interactions between private and public land and property beyond that get trickier. The sidewalk and the parkway — that patch of land between the sidewalk and the street— are public land. However, as homeowner, it’s your job to mow the parkway and keep the sidewalk clear (shoveling snow, for instance). But if a tree falls there, you can call 311 to ask the city remove it because the tree is public property…

St. Louis, Missouri, Post-Dispatch, August 16, 2020: Apple tree holes could be insect or woodpecker

Q: I have a red delicious apple tree that I have never sprayed. It has needed protection; it’s just that I did not have the time to devote to it. I would want to use an OMRI listed spray. Parts of the tree are dying. If one examines the trunk, there are holes bored into it, going around the full circle of it. A recent storm brought down most of the dead limbs, and it’s clear that our tree needs help. One limb came directly off the trunk, where there is now a large area that my neighbor said might need to be painted with a special protectant. Is there anything that you can tell me from this brief description?
A: Insects (borers, specifically) might be the cause of the holes in the trunk, but the holes they produce in tree trunks are entirely at random. If the holes you are seeing are arranged in more or less circular, geometrical patterns, then they are caused by yellow-bellied sapsuckers, a secretive, migratory woodpecker that passes through Missouri in spring and autumn on its way to and from its northern breeding grounds. It’s a good practice to remove dead wood, and pruning dead wood can be done anytime. It would be more effective to spray the wound caused by storm damage with an insecticide, rather than painting with a wound sealer, as those particular products are no longer recommended…

New York City, WPIX-TV, August 16, 2020: Trees on LI are turning brown after Isaias, NWS explains ‘interesting phenomenon’

The National Weather Service says there may be an “interesting phenomenon” affecting Long Island trees in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias. A photo taken on the south shore of Long Island on Saturday shows several trees and bushes with withered and brown leaves on one side and normal green on the other. “You can very clearly see that much of the south side of the vegetation looks as if it has progressed into late autumn with much of it turning brown. However, the north side of the trees and the bushes are still green!” the weather service tweeted along with the photo. What could cause this to happen? According to the NWS, the powerful wind produced by Isaias — with gusts up to 70 mph in some areas — caused ocean spray containing sea salt to blow onto the south side of plants and trees along the island’s south shore…

Billings, Montana, Gazette, August 16, 2020: Caldera chronicles: Tree rings record spikes in magmatic CO2 emissions at Yellowstone

The Mud Volcano thermal area is one of the more exciting places in Yellowstone because gas that discharges there has the most magmatic character of any thermal area in the region. In addition to fumaroles, the area contains a variety of other degassing features such as mud pots, steaming ground, and pools of bubbling water. At some pools the bubbling action is simply the result of boiling as liquid water transforms into steam. Other pools are cooler and exhibit vigorous degassing, and the water surface churns and splashes. This roiling action is due to gas forcefully discharging from vents at the bottom of the pool. The gas is a mixture of many components but primarily contains carbon dioxide (CO2). During the growing season trees take up CO2 from the air and use it along with water and light energy to create new wood. In winter months at Yellowstone the trees go dormant and wood production stops. The process begins anew in the spring when a new layer of wood starts to form. The character of this early wood is different from the wood in the later part of the growing season and makes a distinctive band called a growth ring. Since each ring generally indicates a single year of growth (although sometimes two rings, or none, are possible), it is possible to use tree rings to see how trees grew over time, and how they were affected by environmental conditions like fire, drought, and even volcanic gases…

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette, August 13, 2020: The derecho’s calling card, a tangle of trees

We take the trees for granted. Sure, in the spring when they leaf out or bloom we take some notice. And in the fall when they paint the landscape we enjoy the show. But this time of year they tend to fade into the background, a canopy of late summer green that goes unnoticed, unless we have to mow around them. Then came Monday and The Storm. Trees all around us were bent, broken, splintered, stripped and pulled out by their roots. They were twisted and smashed in our favorite parks. They fell dead in cemeteries and littered the fairways of golf courses. Trees whipped by 100 mile-per-hour gusts snapped power lines, blocked streets and fell on homes they had shaded for decades. In the middle of a pandemic, at a time when many of us have found solace outdoors, the derecho closed our parks, trails and even sidewalks. Thanks again, 2020. For all of the human and economic tragedies that accompanied the storm, from missing roofs to flattened crops, and the hardships that have followed, it’s the downed trees that are the calling card of this disaster. Everywhere you look there are trees destroyed or badly damaged, and branches piled high by homeowners trying to recover from nature’s madness. Shredded leaves are plastered everywhere…

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, August 14, 2020: Family claims they can’t get homeowners insurance because of city trees

A Modesto family says their homeowner’s insurance is dropping their coverage over a city tree, so they called Kurtis. The insurance company doesn’t like the branches hanging over the roof. When we called the city, they went out and inspected the property. The city said the trees are pruned properly, and if the insurance company needs them pruned further, they can apply for a permit to trim it themselves. “This just isn’t fair, and I don’t understand,” said Corrine Sawyer. “They’re city trees. These are their trees” said her sister, Shelley Farmer. The city of Modesto said it has 81,000 trees to maintain and a limited budget, admitting on average, each tree gets pruned once every 11 years. But if the city learns of a safety hazard, they said they’ll usually prune within a day or so. The city has agreed to talk with the family’s insurance company and explain the trees are not a hazard. We’ll see how the insurance company responds. The city issued the following statement: “The City maintains approximately 81,000 trees and our current cycle for maintaining (pruning) each tree is about 11 years; this is not acceptable, but our limited budget and resources simply does not allow for us to maintain trees more often. On the other hand, when we receive an inspection request, we get out to the trees sooner. If a tree poses a safety hazard, we prune as soon as possible, likely within a day or so…

New York City, WNBC-TV, August 13, 2020: Video Captures a ‘Bolt From the Blue’ Striking Palm Tree in Fla.

A camera inside a Florida man’s truck captured a bolt of lightning striking a nearby palm tree – and it wasn’t even raining. Jonathan Moore was working Monday afternoon in Lutz, a suburb of Tampa, when the lightning bolt struck a tree about 75-feet away. A loud boom can be heard in the video moments before the strike, which caused a single limb to fall. Meteorologists said storms were in the forecast, but skies were blue at the time of the strike. Lightning is common during thunderstorms, but what about in seemingly clear, blue skies? Experts call this occurrence a “bolt from the blue.” According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, a bolt from the blue is a flash from the side of thunderstorm clouds that travels a relatively long distance into the clear skies, and then angles down before striking the ground. These lightning flashes can travel several miles away from the thunderstorm…

Norfolk, Virginia, WAVY-TV, August 13, 2020: Neighbors want Norfolk to keep right-of-way trees off their homes

A Norfolk neighborhood says the city is neglecting its responsibility to keep trees on the right-of-way pruned so they don’t hit houses. It is a particular problem in the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. Residents complained about a tree that is clearly on the right-of-way, touching the home, complained and nothing happened. 10 On Your Side viewer Joe Ritchie is fed up. “This is a huge tree right here next to me. It’s on city property. The branches behind me cover power lines, and there’s also rats in the tree going up the tree to my neighbor’s apartment,” he said. What got Ritchie thinking was when he and others called the city to complain to prune back the trees for the next big storm, they got what has been described by the city as a standard return letting them know “estimated timeline for completion is 547 business days.” A year and a half. “You got to be kidding me. We pay taxes. I pay mine on time, and I know there’s a budget for it,” Ritchie said…

Chicago, Illinois, Sun Times, August 12, 2020: Chicago tree trimmers show during a destructive storm why there are none better

Last month, Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, was quoted by a local newspaper as saying: “We maintain an inefficient tree-trimming system, lose trees due to disease and opaque removal processes, and reinforce long-standing inequities in the delivery of city services.” Waguespack was piggybacking on a 2019 report by City Inspector General Joe Ferguson that said the city could save up to 60% on the average cost of trimming a tree. Waguespack and Aldermen George Cardenas, 12th, and Samantha Nugent, 39th, want to create a board to run a better forestry program. So where are the aldermen now? Here’s a novel idea: How about the three of them take a walk out their front doors and look at the devastation caused by Monday’s storm. Maybe talk to their constituents. Who has been out there cleaning up their wards? Must be the men and women of those “inefficient” city crews. Right, aldermen? Men and women who have been working 16-hour days. Who have been using heavy, high-powered chain saws, chippers and lifts to cut and remove trees blocking streets all across the city. Who are exhausted but still on the job because they are dedicated to the city they live in and work for. That’s right — every one of them lives in Chicago. They are not out-of-town contractors who have no stake in the city except on pay day. And, speaking of that, maybe someone should explain to the aldermen how the union that represents these men and women won the work several years back because city forestry workers come substantially cheaper than any private contractor…

Omaha, Nebraska, WOWT-TV, August 12, 2020: Omaha resident has close call with vacant lot’s falling tree limbs

As trees and limbs came crashing down across the metro during Monday’s storm, one homeowner had a close call but remains worried it could happen again. Near 41st and Decatur Streets, Kathleen Glover was left shaken but not surprised by the fast-moving storm. “I knew the minute I heard that big ole crack, it had to be one of these trees,” she said. Dangerous cottonwoods stand on the vacant lot next door and two years ago falling branches damaged her home. Then Monday’s near-miss left her feeling lucky — and angry. “If you can’t be responsible then stop buying lots because it’s not fair to the person that’s got a house in between or a house on the side,” she said. Three years ago, the city sent violation notices to the property owner Orchard Hill Neighborhood Association which led to tree trimming but not removal. The Mammel Foundation purchased a dozen empty lots with plans to revitalize the neighborhood. Nancy Mammel said she didn’t know about the city orders or the mess left in Kathleen’s yard Monday. “I want this cleaned up, and I want my front yard restored the way it was,” Kathleen said…

Palm Springs, California, KMIR-TV, August 10, 2020: Inmate Fire Crew Saves Largest Oak Tree in North America

Whenever we see wildfires in California, the biggest priority is always to save lives and property but for the Apple Fire, there was an unusual challenge: to save what some call a “national treasure”. It’s called the Champion Oak Tree and the name says it all. The tree is estimated to be between 800 and 1,000 years old and it almost didn’t make it another year but thanks to a special crew, it lives on. “They were going up to save the largest oak tree in North America,” Tim Krantz, the Botanic Garden Director at Oak Glen preserve, said. Krantz said when he woke up and saw the flames moving toward the tree, he “knew right away what we had to do.” Of course, he needed a team. A group of 30 inmates was assembled to help Krantz with the task. “It was a special crew, it was a convict crew.” They had no idea what they were getting into when it came to the hike to get there. “It’s 3,000 feet of vertical,” Krantz said. “It’s a 45 degree angle and we hit that slope at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, full sun.” The fire crew was lugging chainsaws, fuel, picks, shovels and more in full fire gear. “The guys get to the base of the tree and look up, it’s 43 feet in circumference, about 100 feet high and 100 feet wide,” he said. With the fire quickly approaching and water drops just a hundred meters up the slope from them, the team got to work…

Portland, Oregon, Willamette Week, August 12, 2020: East of 82nd Avenue, Portlanders Are Covered by Far Fewer Trees

Geoffrey Donovan says trees can help Portland fight crime. He realizes that might sound peculiar. But with the city locked in debates over police funding and gripped by a wave of gun violence, any relief would be welcome. And Donovan, a Portland research forester with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has conducted several studies showing a correlation between a neighborhood’s tree canopy and its crime rates. “Trees signal that a neighborhood is well cared for,” Donovan tells WW. “Neighborhoods that show signs of disorder send a subliminal signal. Buildings that had more trees around them had less crime.”And guess what East Portland lacks? Trees. Citywide, about one third of Portland is covered with trees. More specifically: 30.7% of the city has what experts call canopy coverage. This is measured by looking down from a bird’s-eye view at the top of the tree and measuring how far the leaves span out in all directions. But this canopy coverage is not distributed equally. Between 2010 and 2016, Portland Parks & Recreation conducted an inventory of streetside and park trees in most Portland neighborhoods. Outside of natural areas like Powell Butte, not a single neighborhood listed in the inventory report east of 82nd Avenue meets the 30.7% average citywide canopy coverage. The East Portland neighborhood with the highest percentage of canopy coverage is Powellhurst-Gilbert at 27%. The lowest in outer East Portland is Argay Terrace, at 13%. These neighborhoods also have a high population of low-income residents and people of color…

New York City, WCBS-TV, August 11, 2020: Demanding Answers: CBS2’s Marcia Kramer Helps Queens Homeowner Who Was Told City Tree That Fell On His House Couldn’t Be Removed For 23 Days

Juan Betancur walked around his Jamaica, Queens, home in a state of disbelief – disbelief that a city crew had actually shown up to deal with a massive oak tree that crashed his roof during Tropical Storm Isaias last week. Because when he tried calling 311 – and he did repeatedly – he got the brush off. The proverbial municipal cold shoulder, reported CBS2’s Marcia Kramer. By the city’s own admission there are sill thousands like Juan Betancur waiting for help. “We had called them three or four times a day. All you get is a report,” Betancur said. The report said they would be updated in 23 days. That’s 23 days with a hole in the roof and no way to fix it, and since it was a city tree, the city has to remove it or insurance won’t cover it. “I couldn’t believe it: 23 days. Unheard of when you’re living with your roof on the floor and thunderstorms are coming,” Betancur said. A spokesman for the Parks Department told CBS2 the agency received 21,000 calls for help after the storm, more than they receive in four entire months. They say 75% have been addressed, but that leaves over 5,000 people who still need help. Kramer demanded answers from Mayor Bill de Blasio. She told the mayor about 311’s cold shoulder. “He’s been having difficulty getting 311 to take his call, but they finally said we can’t get there for 23 days,” Kramer said. “Can you help this man? We sent a picture of the damage to your staff…”

Indianapolis, Indiana, Star, August 6, 2020: Lawrence man charged with federal hate crime against neighbor, accused of burning cross

A Lawrence man is facing a federal hate crime charge for allegedly using racial intimidation against a neighbor, who is Black. According to a news release from the Department of Justice, 50-year-old Shephard Hoehn became angry when a construction crew started removing a tree from the neighbor’s property on June 18. Hoehn, who is white, is accused of doing the following in an effort to intimidate the neighbor: placing a burning cross above the fence line and facing the neighbor’s property, displaying a swastika on the fence, displaying a machete next to the swastika, displaying a sign with a “variety of anti-Black racial slurs,” and loudly playing the song “Dixie” on repeat, according to the news release. FBI agents searched Hoehn’s home in July and said they found firearms and drug paraphernalia. They also learned he is a fugitive from a case in Missouri and not allowed to possess firearms, according to the release…

Staten Island, New York, Advance, August 11, 2020: Clifton residents suffer consequences after years of raising concerns about damaged trees

A small Staten Island neighborhood suffered the consequences of fallen trees after Tropical Storm Isaias last week despite years of raising their arboreal concerns with the city. Going back to 2010, residents of Talbot Place and Norwood Avenue in Clifton have placed 56 calls to 311 to complain about trees, according to city records. Two of those calls came shortly after Isaias brought down a large tree near the corner of those two streets. In total, the 56 complaints come from 22 addresses on the two blocks that account for less than half a mile of street. The fallen tree caused by Isaias damaged a home and downed power lines causing outages in the area. Multiple 311 complaints dating back to 2010 had been filed regarding street trees at the location of the damaged home. A spokesman for the city Department of Parks and Recreation, which is responsible for street tree care and maintenance, said the fallen tree had last been inspected July 7 and determined to be in “fair condition.” A 311 complaint from July 4 described a tree at the location as having a “branch crack” adding that it “will fall…”

Anaheim, California, Orange County Register, August 11, 2020: Isn’t my neighbor liable when his tree falls on my property? Ask the lawyer

Our neighbor for years has had a very tall, unkempt tree. It just fell on our yard, and caused plenty of damage. He is liable, right?
-C.D., Fountain Valley
A: Knee-jerk reaction: of course he is liable. More studied analytical response: Are you sure that is his tree? In California, the location of the trunk determines ownership; if it started out wholly on his property but the trunk had since extended to your side as well, there may be a level of shared ownership. Assuming the trunk is on his land only, did it fall of its own accord, or did intense weather blow it over, thereby raising an issue of “Act of God,” which could possibly absolve the neighbor of liability? A pragmatic suggestion: Contact your homeowner’s insurance company; if the neighbor is uncooperative, the insurer may fix things and go after the neighbor for reimbursement.
Q: Can we trim the branches from the tree next door that hangs far over our property? We have asked several times but have gotten nowhere
A: The answer to this question, like the first inquiry, seems basic common sense: If their tree is hanging over your yard and causing a nuisance, you should be able to trim it back, particularly when you have asked the neighbor to do so to no avail. The case law, however, has made this a little trickier than otherwise: You do not have an unconditional right to cut the encroaching limbs because you have to take into consideration the health of the tree. Bottom line: you have to act reasonably. You should not take actions that so harms the tree it cannot recover. Do what is needed, but make sure it does not harm or destroy the tree. If you cause injury to the tree, it may result in your being held accountable for at least the amount of harm caused thereby…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, August 9, 2020: PG&E ordered to bolster power line inspections and tree-trimming oversight

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. must hire new tree-trimming supervisors, improve records about the age of risky electrical equipment and bolster the way it inspects high-voltage power lines under a recent order from a federal judge. U.S. District Judge William Alsup imposed the mandates Friday as additional conditions on PG&E’s probation arising from the deadly 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. It comes after months of back-and-forth among Alsup, PG&E and others as the judge sought further ways to help prevent the company from starting more major wildfires, such as those sparked by its equipment over the past five years. Alsup’s latest decision replaces an earlier and stricter order that could have made PG&E hire many more inspectors and force contractors who work on transmission towers to carry enough insurance to “cover losses suffered by the public should their inspections be deficient and thereby start a wildfire.” PG&E urged Alsup to reconsider that decision and proposed a more modest set of conditions in June after conferring with federal prosecutors and the company’s court-appointed monitor. Friday’s order adopts those conditions in full…

Phys.org, August 10, 2020: Fragmented forests: Tree cover, urban sprawl both increased in Southeast Michigan over the past 30 years

The extent of Southeast Michigan’s tree canopy and its urban sprawl both increased between 1985 and 2015, according to a new University of Michigan study that used aerial photos and satellite images to map individual buildings and small patches of street trees. The researchers described the increase in forested area across the region as a positive finding. But their analysis also revealed that the region’s forested lands grew increasingly fragmented due mainly to increased urban sprawl, interfering with the ability of plants and animals to disperse across the landscape. “Our results show that the forested landscapes of Southeast Michigan appear more fragmented and less cohesive in areas experiencing urban sprawl, in accordance with findings worldwide,” said study lead author Dimitrios Gounaridis, a postdoctoral research fellow at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability’s Urban Sustainability Research Group. “We found that low-density single-family housing, in particular, had a detrimental effect on the functionality of adjacent forested landscapes,” he said. “And the distance to these built-up patches appears to be a factor in determining the magnitude of the impact…”

Albany, New York, Times-Union, August 10, 2020: Judge tosses lawsuit filed over tree cutting at Costco site

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed in March over the clear cutting of trees from a site where Costco plans to building a new store. In a ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Mae D’Agostino concluded that the nearby residents who sued Pyramid Corp. over the tree cutting failed to show that Town Planning Director Kenneth Kovalchik was not within his authority to allow the March 26 harvest. Within hours of getting the go-ahead, crews cleared trees from 2.5 acres of land next to Crossgates Mall. After residents alerted Town Supervisor Peter Barber later that day, however, he imposed a cease-and-desist order since the area was supposed to be undergoing an environmental review. The site, owned by Crossgates Mall owner Pyramid Co., is slated to house a Costco store. Another nearby site is also set to be developed into a 222-unit apartment complex. It would be the first time the wildly popular Costco opened one of its warehouse stores in the Capital Region. Both are next to the mall on Western Avenue. Residents Thomas and Lisa Hart and Kevin and Sarah McDonald as well as Red Kap Sales, which operates a nearby gas station, alleged that Pyramid violated the federal Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts, as well as the state Environmental Quality Review Act, when the trees were cut down…

New York City, Patch, August 10, 2020: Cuomo Threatens PSEG License

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday threatened to revoke the licenses of two major New York utilities in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, which left hundreds of thousands in the dark for days. Additionally, he said more than 100 school districts have not submitted plans to reopen in the fall and will not be allowed to if they fail to submit them. Cuomo’s news conference came as about 73,000 homes and businesses in New York were still without power Monday, including 25,000 on Long Island and 20,000 in the Hudson Valley. PSEG and Con Edison did a “lousy job” preparing for the tropical storm, Cuomo said. Isaias lashed the region Tuesday, downing, uprooting and toppling numerous trees, many of which were massive and stood for decades. On Long Island, over 400,000 people had no power in the days following the storm. Cuomo said the state’s Public Service Commission is investigating the utilities’ response to the storm and is still obtaining the facts about what happened. But even so, he stressed he was “personally disappointed with them,” and that he has instructed the commission to be “as aggressive as the law will allow.” This includes levying fines, penalties and ordering restitution. “Because New Yorkers are fed up,” Cuomo said. The essential service of a utility is preparing for and recovering from major storms, he said…

Staten Island, New York, Advance, August 9, 2020: Tree-mendous! Tree damaged on S.I. property prompts $355K lawsuit vs. landscaper

How much is a tree worth? More than $75,000, one Port Richmond property owner contends. The owner, 88 Cortlandt LLC, is suing K&J Landscaping & Tree Service, alleging the company destroyed a tree on its land while working on an adjoining property. 88 Cortlandt is not only suing K&J for the tree’s purported worth, but for an additional $10,000 to restore its property. And, the plaintiff maintains, it’s entitled to triple damages under state law, raising the demand to more than $255,000. Add in $100,000 for a civil trespassing claim, and the total amount of damages sought is $355,000. Recently filed in state Supreme Court, St. George, the suit stems from an incident that allegedly occurred sometime in May. According to a civil complaint, K&J was retained to do work on a neighboring property on Cortlandt Street. While in the process of doing so, company workers “cut, removed, injured and destroyed … a large tree which was located on plaintiff’s property,” the complaint alleges. The type of tree is not specified in the suit…

Salisbury, Maryland, Post, August 9, 2020: Fig trees are gaining popularity in home gardens

Many homes in Rowan County have included fig trees in their plantings to supplement their fresh produce. Most plants are located in a protected area such as a barn or against house or other buildings. Figs are gaining popularity as a small fruit in home gardens and often incorporated into landscapes. Growing figs in our area can be a challenge because of erratic weather patterns. Figs are actually considered a sub-tropical fruit and are often damaged when temperatures fall below 20 degrees. This fruit tree has done well this season with above-average summer temperatures and ample rainfall. “Celeste” is a hardy fig variety that is violet or light brown fruit containing strawberry pink pulp. The fruit can be enjoyed fresh or used or making fig jams or preserves. Celeste figs ripen in mid-July. “Brown Turkey” fig cultivar is another popular variety with light coppery brown skin and amber pulp. This popular bush produces a heavy crop of medium-sized fruit in August for fresh use and is also excellent for preserves. Brown Turkey also adapts well as a container plant…

Washington, D.C., Post, August 8, 2020: For a D.C. park to be reborn, 63 trees must die before others take their place

The bright August sunlight revealed an arboreal massacre in downtown Washington’s largest park. Limbs were strewn about. The dead trees were left where they fell, or fed into a machine that shredded them into bits. Survivors stood silently by, some of them ominously marked with an “X” for possible removal. At the corner of 14th and K streets in Northwest, Franklin Square’s trees, many of them decades old, were being weeded out. And it was all part of a plan. For Franklin Square to be saved, much of it has to be destroyed, and 63 trees are going down with it. The square was fenced off in June for a long-planned year-long renovation — a $13.9 million joint project between D.C. and the National Park Service, which controls the five-acre parcel. With a pavilion, fountain, art exhibit space, children’s play area and public restrooms, officials say Franklin Square will no longer be just a place to wait for a bus but an outdoor destination like Manhattan’s Bryant Park. But first things first: The trees must come down…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star Tribune, August 7, 2020: Overhead powerlines, trees, and exposed connectors: who fixes what

The most common issues we find with overhead powerlines during home inspections are trees rubbing up against them and exposed connectors that present an immediate shock or electrocution hazard. When we find either one of these conditions, we recommend repair. The question that always follows is “Who’s responsible for that?” According to Xcel Energy, tree branches in contact with the overhead powerlines between the pole and house are the responsibility of the homeowner. Of course, this is only fair. Tree maintenance should be the responsibility of the homeowner, not the power company. Before trimming trees around overhead powerlines, you should contact the power company to have your service temporarily disconnected. The one exception is if a tree branch falls onto one of the overhead powerlines. If this happens, it’s considered an immediate safety hazard. Xcel Energy will take care of this issue at no charge to the owner…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, August 6, 2020: Isaias knocked down a tree in your yard. What do you do now?

With high winds and lashing rain, Tropical Storm Isaias pummeled Connecticut Tuesday afternoon, leaving more than 800,000 without power. Like Irene and Sandy in previous years, much of the damage came from trees and limbs uprooted or broken off by powerful winds that dropped power lines, smashed into homes and crushed cars or left driveways and roads impassable. With the winds abated and Connecticut residents left surveying the damage, police and fire departments are still urging caution. “Trees and wires are continuing to come down well after (Tuesday’s) storm. Some wires are not live, but others are, and there is no way to tell the difference between the two visually,” Bethel Police said in a Facebook post. If a tree falls on a house, immediately call 911, said Andrew Ellis, fire chief for Brookfield. Firefighters will check the damage, often with a municipal building inspector, to make sure it’s safe, he explained. If power and phone service are knocked out as well, he said residents should find a neighbor or someone else who can reach first responders. If a tree has come down on a homeowner’s property without taking any wires with it, whose responsibility is it? The answer is complicated…

Nassau, Long Island, New York, Newsday, August 6, 2020: What homeowners should know if a neighbor’s tree falls on their property

If a neighbor’s tree falls on your house, what do you do? That’s the question many Long Island homeowners are facing in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, which brought trees and branches crashing down onto homes and power lines when it swept across the region Tuesday. Local insurance experts — including a broker, adjuster and attorney — said the first step is to make sure the property is safe. Then photograph the damage, keep records of expenses and report the damage to your insurance company as soon as you can — since your insurer, not your neighbor’s, will handle the claim, the experts said. Insurance will typically cover tree removal if it causes structural damage or a safety problem such as a blocked driveway. But if the tree fell without causing damage, insurance typically will pay $500 to $1,000 for debris removal depending on the policy, and if there are additional costs it’s up to the neighbors to work out a deal to pay for them, said Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group. She said a homeowner’s insurance rates typically would not rise as a result of one claim, but multiple claims could affect rates…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, August 6, 2020: Beloved ‘Keebler’ tree to come down in Western Springs

Western Springs officials know a new tree cannot replace residents’ beloved “Keebler” tree that will be removed as part of the reconstruction of Prospect Avenue, but they plan to help preserve their memories of the tree. Village officials became aware of the tree’s poor condition in May after they had a firm do a tree inventory. The firm rated the catalpa tree, estimated to be between 80 and 100 years old, on the corner of Prospect and Reid Street as a 5 on a scale of 1 to 6, where 6 is a dead tree. The low rating was based on the findings that 50 percent or more of the tree was dead wood and the tree trunk was basically hollow to the ground due to decay, said Casey Biernacki, Western Springs’ assistant director of municipal services.The tree has grown so that ComEd’s power lines run through the canopy. “The tree has undergone a lot of aggressive trimming from ComEd,” which the utility has the right to do, Biernacki said. “Over the last 50 to 70 years, it really has taken a beating from ComEd,” he said…

Syracuse, New York, Post-Standard, August 6, 2020: Destructive ash tree pest found for first time in Adirondacks

The destructive emerald ash borer continues its march across Upstate New York, appearing for the first time in the Adirondacks. The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that the beetle that kills ash trees was found recently at the Warren County Canoe Launch, on the Schroon River in the town of Chester. “It’s very sad to hear that the emerald ash borer has reached Warren County,” Frank Thomas, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, said in a news release. “The spread of this invasive will be absolutely devastating to our ash trees and substantially degrade our beautiful forests.” New York has about 900 million ash trees, about 7% of all trees in the state. Ash comprise a smaller percentage of trees in the Adirondacks, DEC said. The borer has now been found in all but nine of Upstate New York counties. The emerald ash borer adult eats the leaves of the ash tree, then lays eggs just beneath the bark, starting at the top of the tree and working its way down. The tiny larvae eat their way around the tree just beneath the bark, killing the tree by cutting off the nutrients that are pulled from the roots into the canopy…

New York City, Staten Island Advance, August 5, 2020: All hands on deck as residents, agencies, responders help navigate Isaias’ tree chaos

A roadblock near a local hospital prompting residents to take action; a Jeep crushed under an uprooted tree in Annadale, and thousands who remain without power Wednesday across Staten Island. Felled trees on property, streets and power lines continue to cause chaos after Isaias, and it’s so far been a joint effort including Con Edison, Emergency Management, the FDNY, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the city’s Parks Department — and even residents — to navigate the situation. Said Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo (R-Mid Island): “We need as much help as we can,” he said. “We’ve got to get these trees out of the streets, out of wires that are dangerous.” More than 1,000 downed trees have been reported to 311 on Staten Island alone after Isaias swept through the borough, up from a total hovering around 900 as of 7 p.m. Tuesday. Many of them uprooted by what’s been described as the strongest wind gusts since Hurricane Sandy…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, KYW-TV, August 5, 2020: What You Need To Know About Filing Insurance Claims For Tree-Related Damage

Across the region, cleanup is underway following Tropical Storm Isaias, and many home and car owners are dealing with the aftermath of downed trees. If you’ve experienced tree-related damage, Eyewitness News has information on filing an insurance claim for repairs. There’s always a lot of confusion when it comes to these types of claims so here’s what you need to know. Trees down in yards, on houses and on top of cars — it’s inevitable after a powerful storm. But what’s covered by your insurance and what’s not depends on a number of factors. If your tree falls on your house, your insurance company will pay for the removal of the tree from your home and repairs to your home. If your tree falls on your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s homeowner policy is going to be responsible. It’s considered an act of God and your neighbors should file a claim with their insurance company and vice versa…

The National Interest, August 5, 2020: Can Infested Trees Be Repurposed as a Building Material?

A large portion of North America’s 8.7 billion ash trees are now infested by a beetle called the emerald ash borer. Since its discovery in the U.S. in 2002, the emerald ash borer has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees, drastically transforming entire forest ecosystems in the process. As of October 2018, infestations have been found in 35 U.S. states and several Canadian provinces. Ash wood is used as a material for furniture, flooring and baseball bats, and in the past, was used in heavy timber construction. The larvae of the emerald ash borer hatch underneath the tree’s bark, which hinders the plant’s ability to transport nutrients throughout its trunk, causing it to decay. The infestation has left arborists, researchers and scientists scrambling to find a way to slow the spread or repurpose the infested trees. With emerald ash borers creeping into Cornell University’s Arnot Research Forest in upstate New York, we wanted to see if we could figure out a method to make use of dying ash trees as building material…

North Platte, Nebraska, Telegraph, August 5, 2020: How to help lonely trees in modern landscapes

In our modern landscapes, trees often get planted as lone individuals surrounded by a sea of lawn. This is less than ideal for trees — and vice-versa. Trees typically grow in forests where little grass is present. When trees are placed in lawns and those lawns are excessively fussed over (and we Americans love to fuss over our lawns) trees can be sitting ducks for such things as mower and trimmer damage as well as herbicide injury. Another issue is underground as tree roots and lawn roots don’t always mix well. Lawn soils are often wet and compacted which favors grasses while tree roots prefer loose soils rich in microbial and fungal life. This is too bad, because we can have both a nice, highly-functional lawn and healthy trees if we do it right. One place to start is by surrounding trees with companion plantings that create an island of landscape. Trees in landscape beds will suffer fewer conflicts with lawn care and the soils typically become more bioactive and sustaining for the trees and the other companion plants that share the rooting zone. Tree islands can be small — such as a few perennials or groundcovers in the mulch ring around the tree. But generally speaking, the larger they are the more benefits they provide. Good companion plants include shrubs of all kinds, as well as many perennials, ornamental grasses and various groundcovers. When the trees are young, the companion plants should be sun-loving. But as the trees grow, the companion plantings can transition to more shade-tolerant types…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, August 4, 2020: Clear-cutting of trees leads to cease and desist order at Bedford apartment site

After numerous trees were cut prematurely, a cease and desist order was recently issued to the developers of the future Bow Lane apartment complex behind Bedford High School. In addition to clearing trees on the site prior to final planning board approval, the limits of the clearing exceeded what was conditionally granted by town planners. “A letter of violation and a cease and desist order was issued to the property owners and all construction activity at this time has stopped at the site,” said Planning Director Becky Hebert. “ … At this point, construction can’t begin again until we have an amended site plan that proposes some restoration and revegetation of the areas that have been cleared.” One year ago, despite a petition with more than 1,100 opponents, developers Dick Anagnost and Bill Greiner received conditional approval to construct three, three-story apartment buildings behind the high school — a controversial project that was debated for more than a year and will result in 93 workforce housing apartment units…

Yahoo.com, August 4, 2020: Making the most of a tree epidemic

A large portion of North America’s 8.7 billion ash trees are now infested by a beetle called the emerald ash borer. Since its discovery in the U.S. in 2002, the emerald ash borer has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees, drastically transforming entire forest ecosystems in the process. As of October 2018, infestations have been found in 35 U.S. states and several Canadian provinces. Ash wood is used as a material for furniture, flooring and baseball bats, and in the past, was used in heavy timber construction. The larvae of the emerald ash borer hatch underneath the tree’s bark, which hinders the plant’s ability to transport nutrients throughout its trunk, causing it to decay. The infestation has left arborists, researchers and scientists scrambling to find a way to slow the spread or repurpose the infested trees. With emerald ash borers creeping into Cornell University’s Arnot Research Forest in upstate New York, we wanted to see if we could figure out a method to make use of dying ash trees as building material…

Phys.org, August 4, 2020: In a warming world, New England’s trees are storing more carbon

Climate change has increased the productivity of forests, according to a new study that synthesizes hundreds of thousands of carbon observations collected over the last quarter century at the Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research site, one of the most intensively studied forests in the world. The study, published today in Ecological Monographs, reveals that the rate at which carbon is captured from the atmosphere at Harvard Forest nearly doubled between 1992 and 2015. The scientists attribute much of the increase in storage capacity to the growth of 100-year-old oak trees, still vigorously rebounding from colonial-era land clearing, intensive timber harvest, and the 1938 Hurricane—and bolstered more recently by increasing temperatures and a longer growing season due to climate change. Trees have also been growing faster due to regional increases in precipitation and atmospheric carbon dioxide, while decreases in atmospheric pollutants such as ozone, sulfur, and nitrogen have reduced forest stress. “It is remarkable that changes in climate and atmospheric chemistry within our own lifetimes have accelerated the rate at which forest are capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” says Adrien Finzi, Professor of Biology at Boston University and a co-lead author of the study…

Butte, Montana, Standard, August 4, 2020: Trees: Live or let die?

What the right hand giveth, The left hand taketh away. Martin Luther’s Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount (translation). If there is a photo in the newspaper, any newspaper, to trivialize Earth Day, it is one of tree planting, preferably with children involved. The Montana Standard recently had an article “Protect a Tree.” The Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) has spent a small fortune planting trees locally along with their smaller cousins, shrubs. Then on the Duhame property near Miles Crossing purchased by NRDP and bestowed upon FWP, what do my wondering eyes behold but a bunch of felled Douglas firs? I immediately scent the pejorative “conifer encroachment,” a favorite FWP term used to blame, among other things, the sage-hen decline. It’s an all-purpose villain! What they are encroaching upon I’m not entirely sure. But a few years ago, I read in the Standard that NRDP was funding the destruction of other trees in the name of Conifer Encroachment into riparian areas up Little Basin Creek. As a restoration professional for 45+ years, I thought the replacement of plants needing an enhanced soil-moisture regime with those suited to drier sites resulted from a combination of stream downcutting and the floodplain aggrading. This effectively dries previously wet sites. I must have played hooky the day the UM Forestry School taught “conifer encroachment…”

San Francisco, California, Courthouse News, August 3, 2020: Ninth Circuit Blocks Logging Project in Burned-Out Part of California Forest

Eight months after a federal judge green-lighted a roadside logging project to remove fire-damaged trees on 7,000 acres in Mendocino National Forest, the Ninth Circuit on Monday reversed that decision and issued a preliminary injunction to stop it. The majority of a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel found the U.S. Forest Service should have studied the potential impact of logging on the environment first, rejecting arguments that the project fell within an exemption under the National Environmental Policy Act for roadside repair and maintenance. “We’re very glad that the court saw that the Forest Service has been abusing this categorical exclusion and has just gone too far with that,” said attorney Matt Kenna, of Public Interest Environmental Law in Durango, Colorado, who represents a conservation group fighting against the project…”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, WHYY-TV, August 3, 2020: ‘Buffer Your Stream’ program asks Pa. landowners to plant trees, boost water quality

Worried about water quality in your stream? Plant a tree next to it, says the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, or DNCR. The DCNR recently announced a new stream buffer program, urging 10,000 Pennsylvania landowners who live along the state’s streams, creeks, and rivers to plant native trees near the water’s edge. The term “stream buffers” may sound new, but the concept isn’t — it applies to any trees and shrubs that are deliberately planted along a waterway. They provide nutrients for native insects and fish to flourish and slow the spread of other invasive plant species. Their roots also stabilize the bank, reduce soil erosion, and help to filter chemical fertilizers and other pollutants that would otherwise go directly into the water. Why is the state encouraging landowners to plant them now? “The DCNR has made a more concerted effort recently because of the efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, as well as all of the surrounding watershed,” said Teddi Stark, who manages both the riparian buffer and watershed forestry program for the department. “It’s not necessarily super common knowledge that trees are really good for streams,” she added, “but they’re what form the basis of the food chain for stream ecosystems. They intercept pollution, they prevent erosion… [trees are] very multifaceted, and very essential to stream health…”

Omaha, Nebraska, WOWT-TV, August 3, 2020: West Omaha property owner upset after contractors cut down his trees

A west Omaha homeowner near 144th and Shirley Streets claims a new neighbor has gone too far. But it’s not your typical property line dispute. The neighborhood called Harvey Oaks has one less tree and property owner Jason Harre says it shouldn’t have been cut down. “It’s well within the property line on my parcel,” Harre said. Harre got photos of tree cutters who work for a subcontractor of Applied Underwriters, which is developing the land north of the neighborhood. “I understand they have to clean up their land of entry but this our property line and it’s ridiculous. They can come onto my property and cut down so many trees that have been here for so long,” he said. Former city forester now consulting arborist Phil Pierce counted two dozen trees removed on Harre’s property. Pierce tells 6 News several were not cut properly and he saw limbs trimmed too far from the trunk. Harre says the contractor marked the property and an oak tree is clearly his. And it shouldn’t have been confused with a nuisance volunteer tree…

Lansing, Michigan, State of Michigan, August 3, 2020: Check trees in August for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle

This year, many Michiganders have found time to reacquaint themselves with the outdoors. Whether you spend time walking, hiking or exploring neighborhood parks, you can help protect Michigan’s trees by spending a little of your outdoors time checking for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle. August is Tree Check Month, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is asking the public to look for and report any signs of this invasive pest that’s not native to Michigan and could cause harm to our environment and economy. In late summer and early fall, adult Asian longhorned beetles drill perfectly round, 3/8-inch holes to emerge from within tree trunks and limbs, where they spend their larval stage chewing through the heartwood. After a brief mating period, female beetles chew oval depressions in trunks or branches to deposit eggs. Sometimes a material resembling wood shavings can be seen at or below exit holes or coming from cracks in an infested tree’s bark…

Woodland, California, Daily Democrat, August 2, 2020: Woodland foundation maps city’s largest valley oak trees

Due to the ravages of time, development pressures, over-watering, agriculture and smaller planting spaces in new neighborhoods, the prevalence and visibility of Woodland’s namesake tree, the valley oak, has diminished over the arc of history. In 2018 the Woodland Tree Foundation counted 880 valley oaks over 12 inches in diameter throughout the city’s 15 square miles. However, Foundation members seeking more definitive data, recently used GIS mapping software, to learn the precise locations and attributes of Woodland’s largest valley oaks with a diameter of at least 40 inches. As a result, the Foundation has learned there are 200 trees of this size in the city. All can now be identified and located on the Foundation’s website: woodlandtree.org. These are Woodland’s true heritage trees, many of which are as old as the town’s American settlement in the 1850s, according to members of the Foundation…

Norwalk, Connecticut, News12, August 2, 2020: Tree services see increase in business ahead of Isaias

Tree services in Connecticut say that with Isaias taking aim at the Northeast, they’re preparing to handle its potential aftermath. Experts recommend being proactive in the days leading up to a big storm to minimize the chances of major damage. K & J Tree Service says it has seen an increase in business and is performing extra safety inspections. The service says it’s looking for cracked limbs, dead liters and anything that could be a hazard during the upcoming storm. Ed Grant, the chief operations manager, says the biggest thing is to be aware of potential dangers in your yard. K & J Tree Service says it has 24-hour emergency service, which people will more than likely need in the next few days. The company says just because a tree is full and looks healthy doesn’t mean it’s not hollow and decaying…

Stockton, California, KCRA-TV, August 1, 2020: Tree worker dies after truck tips over, Stockton police say

A man was killed while tree trimming in Stockton on Saturday when the truck he was working in tipped over, police said. The incident happened in the 9700 block of Hickock Drive around 8:14 a.m., the Stockton Police Department said. The 52-year-old man was inside the boom lift cutting a tree. As the lift was lowering, the truck tipped over and the man fell out, police said. Medics arrived shortly after and the man was pronounced dead at the scene, police said…

Tulsa, Oklahoma, World, August 1, 2020: Catch Dutch elm disease early to save your tree

Q: I have an American Elm that started looking like it had a problem and then died a few weeks later. What in the world happened?
A: The culprit was likely Dutch elm disease. I was speaking with Jen Olson of the OSU Plant Disease & Insect Diagnostic Lab recently and she said she was seeing more Dutch elm disease this year than in recent years, which is too bad because it’s one of the most destructive tree diseases in North America. Dutch elm disease was first discovered in the Netherlands in the early 1900s, but it didn’t take long for it to make its way to the U.S. It arrived around 1930 on beetles who were hitching a ride on some logs headed our way to make furniture. Quarantine helped control the disease until 1941, but the nation then became more focused on fighting a war. Some estimates suggest there were approximately 77 million elms in North America in the early ’30s. By 1989, more than 75% of those trees were lost. Dutch elm disease grows in the xylem of the tree. The xylem is the tissue that helps bring water up from the roots throughout the entire tree. You typically start to see evidence of Dutch elm disease in the upper branches with leaves gradually browning, then yellowing and eventually getting dry and brittle…

Worcester, Massachusetts, Patch, July 30, 2020: New Beech Tree Leaf Disease Found In Worcester

Beech leaf disease was first found in Plymouth in June. State forestry officials later found the disease in Worcester and Blandford. The disease first emerged in the U.S. in 2012 in Ohio. The disease is associated with a parasite called Litylenchus crenatae, which causes leaves to become weak, sometimes leading to tree death, according to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. The state will survey Beech trees across the commonwealth for signs of the disease. Beech trees are found widely across New England. The three main species, American beech, European beech, and Oriental beech, can all be impacted by the leaf disease. It’s unclear how the disease spreads, and how long it takes for a tree to show symptoms…

Battle Ground, Washington, Reflector, July 30, 2020: Public asked to check trees for invasive species in August

Throughout the month of August, the Washington Invasive Species Council and the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are asking the public to take a couple of minutes to check trees in their communities for invasive insects. August is the peak time of year that wood-boring insects are most often spotted outside of trees. “State and federal agencies do a fantastic job at preventing the introduction of invasive species to the United States, but occasionally some slip through,” Executive Coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council Justin Bush said in a news release. “When a new invasive species is introduced, we need to know as quickly as possible so we can stop its spread.” Invasive species are non-native organisms that include plants, animals and diseases. When introduced to a new environment, they do not have natural predators or diseases to keep their growth in check. Once established, they may damage the economy, environment, recreation and sometimes human health…

Phoenix, Arizona, The Cronkite News, July 30, 2020: Proposal to protect Joshua trees from climate change proves divisive

Named for the biblical figure Joshua by Mormon pioneers who saw its outstretched limbs as a guide to their westward travels, the Joshua tree is an enduring icon of the Southwest. In tiny Yucca Valley, California, the spiny succulents that once guided pioneers through the Mojave Desert still adorn the landscape, but as climate change threatens their future, residents are increasingly at odds over their preservation. Some in the town of roughly 20,000 say that by listing the Joshua tree – which actually is a yucca – as threatened, new restrictions will negatively affect the town’s economy, while others view the protections as necessary to ensure the survival of Yucca brevifolia, which is native to the Mojave Desert. In October, Brendan Cummings, the conservation director of the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a petition to have the western Joshua tree listed as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act…

The Conversation, July 30, 2020: Are young trees or old forests more important for slowing climate change?

Forests are thought to be crucial in the fight against climate change – and with good reason. We’ve known for a long time that the extra CO₂ humans are putting in the atmosphere makes trees grow faster, taking a large portion of that CO₂ back out of the atmosphere and storing it in wood and soils. But a recent finding that the world’s forests are on average getting “shorter and younger” could imply that the opposite is happening. Adding further confusion, another study recently found that young forests take up more CO₂ globally than older forests, perhaps suggesting that new trees planted today could offset our carbon sins more effectively than ancient woodland. How does a world in which forests are getting younger and shorter fit with one where they are also growing faster and taking up more CO₂? Are old or young forests more important for slowing climate change? We can answer these questions by thinking about the lifecycle of forest patches, the proportion of them of different ages and how they all respond to a changing environment…

Johnson City, New York, WBNG-TV, July 29, 2020: ‘Tis the season for Christmas tree farmers

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…well for tree farmers it is. They’re putting in work almost year-round to get your Christmas tree ready for December. After Christmas, farmers get a few months off. Then come March, things start to pick back up. At Morgan Hillside Tree Farm in Windsor, that’s when planting begins. “We plant every place that we’ve lost a tree to harvest. Even if we’re going to have a tree where we think we’re going to harvest in the next year or two, we’ll start a seedling in between the two of them. That way, we can get a little bit of a jump on things,” said owner Mark Morgan. Summer is the real marathon for tree farmers. “It’s all hot and sticky, there’s bugs and bees and all sorts of stuff you have to deal with this time of year, but it’s part of farming,” said Morgan. June is when mowing starts at the farm. “We let all of the animals get their babies in so to speak, and then we start mowing and then we’re getting ready for shearing which starts very late June, early July and goes for about three weeks,” said Morgan. Shearing may be the most important part — it’s what gives the tree the perfect shape. “The trees when they grow, they’ll kind of get out of the traditional shape of a Christmas tree, which is kind of a cone shape. So what we do is keep them within those small parameters and make them look as good as they possibly can for Christmas,” said Morgan…

American Association for the Advancement of Science, EurekAlert, July 29, 2020: Hot urban temperatures and tree transpiration

Shade from urban trees has long been understood to offer respite from the urban heat island effect, a phenomenon that can result in city centers that are 1-3 degrees Centigrade warmer than surrounding areas. Less frequently discussed, however, are the effects of tree transpiration in combination with the heterogeneous landscapes that constitute the built environment. Writing in BioScience, Joy Winbourne and her colleagues present an overview of the current understanding of tree transpiration and its implications, as well as areas for future research. Their work, derived from tree sap flow data, reveals the complexity and feedbacks inherent in trees’ and urban zones’ responses to extreme heating events. Dr. Winbourne joins us on this episode of BioScience Talks to discuss the newly published article, as well as directions for future research and the prospects for using trees to better mitigate urban heat in the face of a changing climate…

Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times, July 29, 2020: St. Petersburg Banyan tree removal draws protest

When the crew showed up Wednesday to remove a Banyan tree on Granville Court N, they weren’t the only ones there. More than a dozen neighbors and members of the Florida Indigenous Rights and Environmental Equality group gathered to demonstrate against the removal of a Banyan tree between two homes near the intersection of Ninth Avenue N. Protesters bore signs that said “Save the Trees” and “Protect the Earth” as the tree removal company, El-Cheapo, began cutting off the branches of the estimated 57-foot tree. The Banyan tree has a sacred meaning to the group, said Alyssa Gallegos, 29, who has a tattoo of a Banyan on her back. “They were here long before us,” she said. “These trees are no one’s property.” The indigenous rights group also burned sage and prayed after the El-Cheapo crew members left for the day. But the crew was set to return. The job will take a couple more days. “To us, this is like killing our grandfather,” said member Alicia Norris, 50…

Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram, July 29, 2020: Facing rapid development, Arlington plans measures to preserve trees ‘unique’ to city

More than 25 years after Arlington adopted its first ordinance to preserve trees, City Council members and environmental advocates are leading an effort to update the ordinance in the face of rapid residential and commercial development. Spearheaded by Arlington Council Member Sheri Capehart and the council’s Environmental Task Force, the movement to amend the city’s tree policies has spanned more than six months of presentations and debate. The central goal? To encourage real estate developers to preserve trees, particularly those native to Arlington, rather than cut them down and plant replacements elsewhere. “With every development, there are trees that are removed and that is an irreplaceable loss,” Richard Gertson, Arlington’s assistant director of planning and development services, said. “There’s no time like the present to recognize that fact and say: Let’s make the effort now, going forward, to try and encourage preservation and encourage education of the public on the importance of preservation.” Council members and environmentalists hope that amending tree policies will allow Arlington to preserve more of the Cross Timbers ecoregion, which spans from southeastern Kansas into central Oklahoma and central Texas. The city is in the eastern Cross Timbers, a hardwood upland forest that is home to trees like the post oak, a slow-growing species that has adapted to extreme droughts and often lives for hundreds of years…

The Weather Network, July 28, 2020: New study finds lightning destroys 832 million trees each year in tropics alone

Lighting is causing significant damage to ecosystems, damaging or killing more than 800 million trees each year in the tropics alone, according to a new study out of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). Based on ground and satellite data, researchers were able to estimate there are more than 100 million lightning strikes on land each year in tropical regions. According to the authors, the findings are significant, given the challenges associated with studying lightning. Because of this, its ability to alter ecosystems is often overlooked in favour of other destructive events like storms, drought, or fire. Even a single lightning strike can impact an ecosystem. Past research suggests one strike damages approximately 23.6 trees, leading to the eventual death of about 5.5 of them. For the current research, scientists analyzed the impact of about 92 lightning strikes, estimating lightning damages approximately 832 million trees in the tropics alone each year. An estimated 25% of those trees die…

Phys.org,July 24, 2020: Understanding why trees are dying may be key to locking up carbon

Rising tree deaths may be reducing the ability of many forests worldwide to lock up carbon by pulling in greenhouse gases from the air. To properly grasp what this means for carbon budgets, scientists need to solve the puzzle of why trees are dying—and how they respond to change. ‘There are widespread observations of increasing tree mortality due to changing climate and land use,’ according to new research. This appears to be transforming woodland habitats, with trees getting younger and shorter in many forests, the authors add. Estimates suggest that forests have absorbed up to 30% of anthropogenic carbon emissions in the past few decades. Though the overall effects of tree loss on the carbon cycle are complex because old trees and the young ones that replace them take up carbon at different rates, rising mortality appears to be affecting forests’ ability to lock up carbon. The researchers in the new study think that higher mortality rates may begin to outweigh the capacity of remaining and new trees to maintain that uptake at the same level—and potentially lead to an overall reduction of canopy cover and biomass. ‘It’s quite concerning, because at the moment, two to three of every 10 molecules of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere come back into the forests, but we don’t know how it’s going to continue into the future,’ said Dr. Thomas Pugh, an environmental scientist at the University of Birmingham, UK…

International Business Times, July 28, 2020: Christmas Tree Recall 2020: Over 100,000 Artificial Trees Recalled As Burn Hazard

Christmas in July celebrations may go up in smoke this year after Home Accents Holiday recalled over 100,000 artificial Christmas trees because they have a potential burn hazard. The company issued the recall because the Christmas trees’ foot-pedal controller can overheat. Home Accents Holiday has received 509 reports of overheating and one report of a burn incident from the recalled Christmas trees. The recall affects Home Accents Holiday artificial trees with mode-switching foot-pedal controllers. The Christmas trees are 7.5- and 8-feet tall artificial pine trees with model numbers W14N0126, W14N0127, W14N0148, W14N0149, and W14N0157.SKU numbers for the recalled trees can be found on the product label of the tree’s cord and include 1004391988, 1004147107, 1004363928, 1004213736, 1004363929, 1004213737, 1004213744, and 1004213742. The affected trees were sold at Home Depot from June 2019 to December 2019 for about $80 to $360. Consumers should stop using the Christmas trees’ foot-pedal controller immediately and dispose of it…

Associated Press, July 28, 2020: Colorado tree selected for Christmas at US Capitol

A Colorado tree has been selected to move to the U.S. Capitol Building to be displayed over the Christmas holiday, a U.S. Forest official said Monday. The acting regional forester for the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region, Jennifer Eberlien, said in a conference call that included Colorado Gov. Jared Polis that a Capitol architect will make the official announcement in a few days. The Christmas tree will make its way from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests to the West Lawn of the Capitol Building, where it will be decorated and displayed, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported. The tree’s specific location is expected to be withheld until fall for security purposes. It will be cut down some time in autumn. The tree is expected to be 65 to 80 feet (20 to 24 meters) tall. Polis said that the tree will likely be an Engelmann spruce. “Colorado is proud to contribute part of our natural beauty to the United States Capitol in Washington,” Polis said. The coronavirus pandemic is complicating some of the pageantry the tree is usually afforded, officials said. The winning tree is usually cut down in a public event, but this year’s ceremony is uncertain…

New York City, The New York Times, July 27, 2020: Can Trees Live Forever? New Kindling for an Immortal Debate

Trees do not pay taxes. Some seem to avoid death as well. Many of the world’s most ancient organisms are trees, including a 3,600-year-old cypress in Chile and a sacred fig in Sri Lanka that was planted in the third century B.C. One bristlecone pine known as Methuselah has been alive for nearly five millenniums, standing in a forest in what is now called California. But according to a paper published Monday in the journal Trends in Plant Science, time ravages us all in the end. The paper, “Long-Lived Trees Are Not Immortal,” argues that even the most venerable trees have physiological limits — though we, with our puny life spans, may never be able to tell. Sergi Munné-Bosch, a plant biologist at the University of Barcelona, wrote the article in response to a January study on ginkgo trees, which can live for over a thousand years. The studyfound that 600-year-old ginkgos are as reproductively and photosynthetically vigorous as their 20-year-old peers. Genetic analysis of the trees’ vascular cambium — a thin layer of cells that lies just underneath the bark, and creates new living tissue — showed “no evidence of senescence,” or cell death, the authors wrote. Dr. Munné-Bosch said he found the paper “very interesting,” but disagreed with how some readers of the study in popular media and beyond had interpreted it…

Wordsmith.org, July 27, 2020: A Word A Day

Where I live here in the Seattle area, fruit trees dot the whole neighborhood and they seem to take turns being in the spotlight. Last year it was the sweet juicy plums, so many that if you stood near a tree, opened your palm, and closed your eyes, the tree might put plums in your hand and whisper in your ear, “Please enjoy some plums and help lighten my load. There’s also a lone cherry tree and this year it was the cherry’s turn. So many! Birds swooped in. The way I see it, they have as much right to the fruit as we do. They eat, rejoice and make noise, and also leave pits around. The whole fruiting season doesn’t last very long, just a few weeks. The other day I went to the homeowners’ association office, and as it happened, someone else was also visiting the office. I caught the tail end of the conversation. They were talking about cutting down the cherry tree. “What?” I said. “It makes too much of a mess,” she said. I’d rather we not cut any trees, but if you really are itching to kill a tree, maybe chop down that hemlock tree on the other side. But no! It’s the cherry tree that’s making the mess…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, July 27, 2020: Why you should plant a tree

One of the most soothing past times is observing the natural world in our immediate surroundings: birds perching on telephone wires, butterflies fluttering over bushes and bees buzzing around flowers. If you want to help support your local natural ecosystem, experts say that one of the best, easiest and most cost effective ways to do so is by planting a tree. “Trees serve so many purposes,” said Jennifer Cummings, owner of Full Circle Landscaping in Yarmouth. “They’re one of the earliest flowering things in the spring, so pollinators get to use those first. They shade our houses, so it makes them need less air conditioning. If they’re deciduous trees, they lose their leaves in the winter so the sun can warm your house.” Trees also create habitat for wildlife and beneficial pollinators that often go ignored in efforts to make a more environmentally friendly landscape — namely, birds. “We [most often] think about insects, but birds are also really important in that category,” said Kristen Brown, crew supervisor at Full Circle Landscaping. “You are creating habitats for them with trees, also shrubs.” Brown also said that trees are one of the “best investments you can make” when it comes to increasing the value of your property over time. Plus, it is an investment for the ecosystem around your property. “[Trees] aren’t just our human families, but think about all the other families within nature that are going to benefit in the long term,” Brown said…

Boston, Massachusetts, The Christian Science Monitor, July 27, 2020: A protest against one racial inequity – tree deserts

In a few U.S. cities, street protests against racial inequities have escalated in the two months since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In that city, however, people are trying something else. From pastors to politicians, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, they are “working to quell community tensions and exploring new strategies to combat racial injustice.” One particular effort focuses on bringing people together to reshape the urban landscape – literally. In the city’s racially diverse northern neighborhoods, for example, volunteers and local residents have been working the land since June – planting trees, creating gardens – as an act of social healing. This urban regreening “is about putting Black, brown, Indigenous, white hands in the soil together,” Jordan Weber, artist-in-residence at the Walker Art Center, told Minnesota Public Radio. According to various studies, people who live in communities with trees and gardens tend to be closer to one another. A canopy of trees in summer can prevent “heat islands” that drive people off the streets. With more trees, people tend to be outside more where they can meet neighbors. Shared gardens not only root useful plants but also a community. With more natural greenery around them, neighbors have a stake in protecting their environment. Places without such leafy cohesion have “tree inequity,” according to American Forests, the nation’s oldest conservation organization dedicated to protecting and restoring U.S. forests. Since 2018, the group has launched a campaign to plant trees in marginalized communities…

Nashville, Tennessee, WKRN-TV, July 26, 2020: 2 more Middle Tennessee counties quarantined for destructive beetle

Two more Tennessee counties have been placed in quarantine after a beetle that kills emerald ash trees was found there earlier this month. Tennessee agriculture officials say Hickman and Dickson counties have joined 63 other counties under state and federal quarantine for the emerald ash borer. The quarantine bars the movement outside the county of firewood, ash nursery stock, ash timber, and other material that can spread the beetle. Signs of the beetle include a thin canopy or yellow foliage on the tree, small holes through the bark of the tree, or shoots growing from roots or a tree trunk, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture said in a news release Friday. The state Division of Forestry estimates that there are 5 million ash trees on urban land and another 261 million ash trees on Tennessee timberland, with a combined value of about $11 billion…

Omaha, Nebraska, World-Herald, July 25, 2020: Nebraska Supreme Court weighs in on ‘chainsaw massacre’ of dozens of trees

You could call it the “Franklin County chainsaw massacre,” a dispute over the wrongful felling of dozens of trees that was resolved Friday by the Nebraska Supreme Court. Officials in Franklin County, in rural south-central Nebraska, had sought and received permission in December 2015 to clear several trees on the property of Thomas and Pamela Russell. The goal: to improve visibility on an adjacent county road. But county workers, in cutting down and uprooting trees, strayed from the area that was designated for clearing. Before they could be stopped, 67 additional trees had been cut down or uprooted. While the county and the Russells agreed that trees were wrongly removed, a lawsuit ensued over the monetary damages due to the Russells. Franklin County argued in court that the landowners were only due damages equal to the diminished value of the property, which they estimated at $200. But the Russells, who said they used the property for hunting, recreation and bird-watching, argued that damages should equal the cost of restoring the property to its prior condition. Using experts, including an arborist, they estimated the damages at $150,716…

Tallahassee, Florida, Democrat, July 27, 2020: Greening Our Community: A pandemic of sorts devastates a Florida native tree

A trend I have noticed over my career — I am retired now — is unintended consequences causing problems. Avenues for unintended consequences include bringing stowaways when we transport things long distances or deciding that this pretty plant will look nice in my yard. This is how we got a lot of invasive exotic plants and animals in our area that have caused a lot of problems to both our economies and our environment. Besides invasive exotic plants and animals, we also get diseases that come from “someplace else.” Our current COVID-19 pandemic is a good example of one that is affecting us right now. Today I would like to bring your attention to a problem caused by both an exotic insect and the fungus it carries. In this case, the story starts with two trees common to the Southeast that are being affected by a recent introduction of both the beetle and the fungus. They are the red bay and the sassafras. The red bay, it is believed, will be eradicated from the Southeast. The sassafras also will be affected by the disease, but to a lesser extent. Many people have heard of sassafras as settlers often used this aromatic tree to make tea brewed from the bark of its roots. The bark, twigs and leaves of sassafras are also important foods for wildlife…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sun, July 26, 2020: Controlling invasive Siberian elm trees

Q: What’s the best way to kill elm seedlings?
A: I’m glad you’re asking this question when these weedy, invasive trees are small and relatively easy to control (emphasis on the “relatively”). We all know how precious shade is in New Mexico, and we love our trees for providing it, but weedy trees like tree of heaven, salt cedar, and the Siberian elm are real problems across the state. Several traits make Siberian elms (Ulmus pumila) one of the most despicable invasive tree species around. For one, they produce a ton of seeds each spring that fly around, sprout up everywhere, and unless you get them that first season, are very hard to pull. If they just germinated this year, they’re probably still small enough to pull by hand. Pull ‘em when you see ‘em. You’ll be sorry if you don’t. Siberian elms also outcompete other, more desirable species, uproot walls around yards, don’t age well (branch breakage is common), and exacerbate allergies too. Albuquerque’s pollen ordinance bans these pests from being sold or planted within city limits. And did I mention the crazy amount of seeds they produce? In April, the seeds go whirling up and down my street in the wind, making cute pitter-patter sounds that make me shudder. Talk about nightmare on elm street…

Lake Louise, Alberta, CBC, July 23, 2020: Lake Louise ski resort loses appeal of $2M fine for cutting endangered trees

An Alberta judge has upheld a $2.1-million fine against a world-renowned ski resort for cutting down endangered trees nearly seven years ago. Lake Louise Ski Resort pleaded guilty in 2017 to taking down a stand of trees, including 38 endangered whitebark pine, along a ski run in 2013. The fine, which was imposed a year later for charges under the Species at Risk Act and the Canada National Parks Act, amounted to roughly $55,000 a tree. Lake Louise’s lawyer argued the fine was ‘grossly disproportional and demonstrably unfit’ as a result of remediation efforts the resort took after the trees were cut down. He asked for the court to either stay the charges or reduce the penalty to $200,000. The resort has taken steps to ensure no other whitebark pine are cut down. Staff are better educated and the 7,000 whitebark pine within the resort area are now marked. But the Appeal judge rejected the request and said the trial judge did not make an error handing out the fine. “The penalties imposed by the sentencing judge for these offences were certainly more than a slap on the wrist,” wrote Justice Barbara Romaine in a decision released Wednesday. “An observer, uninformed of the circumstances of the case, may consider the penalties to be excessively high given that the offence involved flora and not animals,” she said. But, Romaine said, this was not a case of an “otherwise good environmental citizen making an isolated mistake…”

Roanoke, Virginia, WSLS-TV, July 23, 2020: Hot, dry weather could have big impact on local Christmas tree industry

Christmas is still more than five months away but the recent hot and dry weather could be having an impact on one of the holiday’s most popular symbols. Local Christmas tree growers may have to start watering their trees if we get another long stretch of hot dry weather. That could have a big impact on growers. The owner of Sweet Providence Farm in Floyd County, John Houston, said Thursday that most local growers don’t normally have to irrigate their trees. “I was starting to keep track of how long it has been and looking at our rainfall from the previous month,” Houston said. “We grow specifically Fraser furs. That’s what everybody seems to like. They’re a little bit temperamental.” He said his trees were doing well as of Thursday and expected to have a good crop for the holiday season…

Popular Science, July 23, 2020: Pole saws to keep trees healthy

If you want to keep your trees healthy and looking their best, it’s important to occasionally prune older or damaged branches. A great tool for this is a pole saw. Essentially, pole saws are chainsaws attached extendable rods and designed to cut thicker branches. Pole saws can be powered by gas, an electrical outlet, or rechargeable batteries. Gas-powered tools are best for larger jobs, with longer run-times and more power for branches up to 12 inches thick. However, they’re often heavier and more expensive than their electric cousins. For smaller branches or fewer trees, consider a plug-in or battery-powered option—they’ll also save you money. When looking at pole saws, you want to pay attention to their working height, the cutting bar length (which determines the maximum diameter of the branches you can cut), the weight, and whether or not the saw is removable. That last feature makes it easier when you want to cut up the branches you fell. Pole saws aren’t necessary if you’re just cutting off twigs, and they’ll come up short for branches with more than a 12-inch diameter—for that you’ll need a heavy-duty chainsaw. But for basic general property maintenance, they’re handy tools that cut through the mess…

University of California, The Stanislaus Report, July 23, 2020: Protect Trees from Sunburn

Did you know that plants can suffer sunburn injury just like people? Sunburning of plants is actually a common and serious problem in the San Joaquin Valley, especially after a few days with temperatures over 100° F. Sunburn is damage to leaves and other plant parts caused by a combination of too much light and heat and insufficient moisture. The first symptom of this problem may be leaves that appear dull or wilted. A yellow or brown “burned” area develops on the leaves, which then dies beginning in areas between the veins. The best way to avoid sunburn is to choose plants that are adapted to the planting site. Trying to grow shade-loving plants in full sun is asking for sunburn problems. But even sun-loving plants will suffer sunburning of leaves if the plants are growing in dry soil. You need to provide your plants adequate irrigation water to prevent most sunburning problems. If you notice the symptoms early enough, you may be able to restore the color to sunburned leaves before they killed…

Phoenix, Arizona, KTVK-TV, July 22, 2020: Tree trimmers, roofers warn homeowners to take precautions before monsoon arrives

This is the time of year when the monsoon starts to do its thing, wreaking havoc across the Valley. Tree experts say that if Valley homeowners would simply cut back the big trees around their house, before the storms hit, it would greatly reduce the destruction we see every summer. Bill Weatherill, with TreeTime Design, said the more branches and leaves left on a tree, the easier it is to blow over. “The problem is that two things happen, “said Weatherill. “The limbs will break off from too much weight of the tree, or it will fall over if the ground is wet enough and you haven’t trimmed it and its too dense for air to travel through the tree and it becomes a giant sail.” Roof damage is also an issue during the monsoon. Every year, countless roofs cave in from all the heavy rain. Jeff Knudson, with Roofstar Arizona Inc., said that most roofs collapse because of a small, underlying problem, that could have been fixed long before the storms rolls in…

Idaho Falls, Idaho, Post-Register, July 22, 2020: Remembrances of a tree explosion

Here I go again. Hope you’re not bored with my ramblings. I occasionally refer to things that I have seen or observed that have stood out for me. I was reading the article entitled, “Livestock loss to lightning” by Heather Smith Thomas in the July 5 issue of Farm and Ranch. Her description was of particular interest and, although, from within a different context, caused me to reflect on an experience some 25 years ago while traveling down the eastern side of Nevada. I like the geography of that region with its expansive pattern of long, narrow ranges and valleys. Typical of the Great Basin (“land of interior drainage”), it is wonderfully remote. I had tucked myself in for a long winter’s nap (remember that quaint Christmas tale of long ago?), when out of the lawn there rose such a crash, like a shotgun blast, I tucked myself in for the next one. Luckily, it hadn’t had my name on it. I lay there anticipating the atmospheric fireworks. Nothing. Silence. The storm had expended its energy with one stroke. In the morning, I walked down a narrow gravel path and saw one of the native trees that closely resembled a tamarisk about 100 feet from my tent. It was shattered from top to bottom as if hit by the hammer of Thor. Wood all over the place. Upon closer examination, there was no apparent burn mark on any of it…

Yahoo News, July 22, 2020: ‘Disgraceful’ vandals damage 1000-year-old tree in Sherwood Forest

The world-famous 1,000-year-old Major Oak tree in Sherwood Forest has fallen victim to vandalism. Someone has caused a large three-foot chunk of bark to fall off the iconic tree, where the legendary outlaw Robin Hood is fabled to have met his “merry men”. The RSPB, which runs part of the Sherwood Forest Nature Reserve, said that fibreglass protection on the iconic tree has also been damaged. It is thought the damage was caused by someone climbing on the tree – despite access to it being prohibited for more than 40 years. An estimated 350,000 tourists visit Sherwood Forest each year to see the oak tree. Completely hollow inside, it has a hole in the trunk which visitors used to climb inside. However, the practice was stopped and the area around the tree’s roots fenced in the 1970s as conservationists recognised the damage this was causing to the ancient tree. The forest is also a National Nature Reserve and has some of the highest natural protections in Europe. Gemma Howarth, the RSPB’s site manager, said it was “heartbreaking” to find the damage while she was doing a regular check of the site during lockdown…

Magnolia, Arkansas, The Magnolia Reporter, July 23, 2020: The takeaway: Don’t plant big trees between curbs and sidewalks

Trees planted along urban streets in cities and towns throughout Arkansas have seen better days. Over the last several years, arborists have noted an increase in the decline, mortality, and removal of urban street trees, which add beauty, shade and other benefits to areas otherwise dominated by vehicle traffic and asphalt. Colin Massey, agricultural agent for the Washington County Cooperative Extension Service office, said urban tree decline can occur with many species. “Here in northwest Arkansas, this has been most visible on red maple,” Massey said. Red maple (Acer rubrum) is widely planted due to its popularity as a street and landscape tree, he said. It was listed as the 2003 Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA). Red maples offer a fast growth rate but often exhibit shallow root systems and thin bark that is susceptible to sun injury, also known as sunscald. Red maple cultivars such as “Red Sunset” and “October Glory” can provide striking color to the fall landscape, maturing on average to a height of 45 feet, with a canopy spread of 35 feet…

New York City, Staten Island Advance, July 21, 2020: Already backlogged Trees & Sidewalks program loses millions in budget cuts; long

delays for repairs

Staten Islanders and residents across the city have been frustrated with the city Parks Department’s Trees and Sidewalks program that has been backlogged for years. The Parks Department is responsible for pruning city trees, as well as inspecting tree-related issues, like tree roots that have cracked and raised a sidewalk square, for example. Homeowners have said inspections and repairs are near impossible to get, and when an inspection finally does happen, they don’t agree with the results or they’re put on a waiting list that has been known to take years for service. The Advance has reported issues several homeowners have had with the city Parks Department’s Trees and Sidewalks Program — including a homeowner who waited 11 years for a repair. Major budget cuts to the Trees and Sidewalks program could exacerbate the wait times homeowners face…

Denver, Colorado, KDVR-TV, July 21, 2020: Large tree crashes through roof of Denver condo complex; residents say they had complained to HOA

A large tree crashed into a condo complex in Denver Tuesday afternoon and witnesses say it had nothing to do with the weather. Neighbors say that around 2 p.m., they heard a cracking sound and the building shaking at Cherry Creek Village Condominiums. The complex is near East Mississippi Avenue and Cherry Creek South Drive. “It felt like an earthquake,” Jahnice Johns told FOX31. Johns was inside her the condo with her mother when the tree fell… The large cottonwood tree came to a rest on their roof and tore through a portion of the ceiling. While the accident comes as a shock, residents of the complex say it is not a surprise. “This is something that I’ve been concerned about for many years because it’s been at a 45-degree angle and it was just a matter of time,” neighbor Augustus Johnston told FOX31 and Channel 2. Several owners tell the Problem Solvers they have expressed concern about the tree to their HOA on multiple occasions. “This tree started leaning in 2009 or 2010. We’ve been saying it, ‘You guys got to get that tree,’” Johns said. “It was an obvious hazard and they didn’t take care of it,” Johnston said…

Real Estate Management Institute News, July 21, 2020: Planting native trees cools communities over time

A new study has found that planting native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses can cool the summer daytime temperature of an area by more than 4 C in a decade. University of Waterloo researchers used a new thermal camera on the International Space Station (ISS) called ECOSTRESS to gather images that show temperature decreases over time when biodiverse, native species are restored to areas of Southern Ontario. “We found a decrease of 4.5 C in summer daytime temperatures over 12 years and we found that this change was dependent on biodiversity,” said Jonas Hamberg, PhD candidate at Waterloo’s School of Environment Resources and Sustainability and lead researcher on the study. Hamberg’s team is one of the first to work with the new ECOSTRESS technology which was attached to the ISS in 2019 via a SpaceX rocket and the Canadarm2 (the Canadian-made robotic arm). “I’m honoured to have had access to this new technology,” said Hamberg. “It opens up so many avenues for exploration – not just in my field, but for the whole scientific community…”

Center for International Forestry Research, July 22, 2020: Survey shows potential impact of palm trees in quantifying rainforest carbon

Palm trees are more than five times more numerous in such neotropical rainforests as the Amazon than in the large-scale rainforests of Africa and Asia, according to a new study. Led by researchers from Sweden’s Uppsala University (UU) and Brazil’s University of Campinas (Unicamp), the findings shed light on the unique characteristics and contribution of the trees to tropical forest ecosystems. They also demonstrate the importance of taking palm trees into account when estimating uptake and carbon sequestration in tropical forests and evaluating their resilience to climate change, the study states. “To get a better understanding of tropical forests and reduce uncertainty about carbon balance in these ecosystems during climate change, we summarized data to show how the number of palms vary around the world compared with other tree species,” said UU’s Bob Muscarella, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution…

St. Louis, Missouri, Post-Dispatch, July 20, 2020: Lightning hit a prized Missouri Botanical Garden tree. And a small rod saved it

During a storm last week, lightning likely hit one of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s most prized trees, a white basswood. “The lighting strike sounded like a bomb went off across the street,” said Gwen Merz, who lives a block away from the garden and posted a video of the hit on social media, where it was widely shared. “It shook the windows and the entire house — it was an insane experience.” But when garden employees inspected the tree the next day, they couldn’t find any sign of the strike. The tree’s saving grace: a metal rod at the tree’s peak, attached to a copper wire running down the trunk and then to a bigger rod underground. Lightning hits the garden once or twice a year. To protect some of its 3,500 trees from damage, the nonprofit has outfitted nearly 100 of its most valuable and vulnerable with a tree lightning protection system. If a tree is hit, it can prove fatal — sap will boil along the path of the strike, generating steam and causing tree cells to explode. “Lightning can completely shatter a tree,” said MOBOT Horticulture Supervisor Ben Chu, who inspected the trees for damage the day after the thunderstorm. “I’ve seen the bark blown right off the trunk…”

Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram, July 20, 2020: This $2 billion highway expansion prompts concerns about noise, tree removal in Arlington

When Shelley Ames and her family of five moved into the Willow Bend subdivision in Arlington last year, she was attracted to the shady front yards and friendly neighbors. She had not heard of the Southeast Connector, a $2 billion project the Texas Department of Transportation says will transform a 16-mile stretch of highway along Interstate 20, East Loop 820 and U.S. 287. Ames’ home is right behind an I-20 access road, separated by a backyard fence and a tree-filled ditch. TxDOT plans to expand the access road from one to two lanes without building a noise barrier wall, which Ames and her neighbors fear will lead to increased traffic and the inescapable sound of cars whizzing by. “Had we known that something like that was in the works, I don’t know if I would have chosen to live right here,” Ames said. “I don’t want them to take down our tall trees right behind our fence that help with the sound and certainly help with the view.” The Southeast Connector, which has been moving steadily forward since 2017, will affect parts of Fort Worth and Arlington when construction begins in late 2021 and continues through 2026, according to TxDOT plans. About 24 businesses and residential buildings are slated to be destroyed in east Fort Worth, with owners receiving compensation for their properties, said Rep. Nicole Collier, who represents the area in the state legislature. “It’s bound to happen with most projects: businesses are going to be displaced and homes are going to be displaced, but the state is going to have to offer compensation for that,” Collier said. “The only thing you can ask for is cooperation, and that is what TxDOT has been providing in terms of my district…”

Lexington, Kentucky, Herald-Leader, July 20, 2020: ‘Not all these trees pose a threat’ Lexington mayor, city question KU removing trees

Lexington city officials and tree professionals are questioning a recent push by Kentucky Utilities to cut down trees under power lines. Trees that were once in the median under a transmission line on Southpoint Drive in the Southpoint neighborhood off of Nicholasville Road were recently cut down. A line of stumps is all that remains. Earlier this spring, the power company axed and trimmed trees in Pinnacle, Waterford and Belleau Woods neighborhoods under a distribution line that leads to a substation on Wilson Downing Road. It is not known how many trees have been cut down in backyards and along streets. Mike Mills owns a home in Pinnacle. KU cut down two evergreen trees that were approximately 20 feet tall in his backyard. Mills and his neighbors, who also had trees cut, questioned why the power company was taking down trees when in prior years, those trees were trimmed. According to KU’s website, trees under distribution lines should be no taller than 15 feet. “They were about 15 or 20 feet from the bottom of the lowest line. From the highest line, it was probably 30 feet in difference,” said Mills. “Those trees had been there for 22 years. What has changed?” Mills said KU told him the maximum height requirement has always been in place — KU was now enforcing it. When trees were cut on Southpoint, a well-traveled road in south Lexington, people became aware of KU’s latest stance on tree heights under power lines. “My mother-in-law lives off of Southpoint Drive,” Mills said. “That drive now looks completely different. It’s terrible…”

VT Digger, July 20, 2020: New trees require extra care in drought

“How much should we be watering our trees?” That was the question from Bob Fireovid and Joan Falcao of Health Hero Farm, who received 115 trees from the Franklin County Conservation District this spring to plant a windbreak for their farmstead. Trees need consistent moisture to survive being transplanted, especially during a dry spring and summer like we’re having. The windbreak, along with about 7 acres of other tree plantings facilitated by the Conservation District and the 3500 trees sold through their spring tree sale, was planted in the first few days of May. While rain has brought relief a few times, mostly it was a dry spring; April through June in Franklin County fell short of our average rainfall by about 25%, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell. Fireovid and Falcao have been watering the trees whenever they can fit it into their busy schedule, and it makes a big difference. Out of the 29 white cedars planted only three have died so far, and all but one of the 14 white spruce are doing well. “Given how dry it’s been, that kind of survival rate is a real testament to Bob and Joan’s commitment to keeping these trees watered,” said Jeannie Bartlett, who has been providing technical guidance on the project through her role at the Conservation District. She advised the farmers to water their new trees so that the soil two- to eight inches down stays consistently moist. “Planting a tree or a live-stake is not just about the planting,” she continued. “Just like no one would plant seeds and expect them to grow without water, or without controlling weeds and pests – the same is often true with trees…”

Portland, Oregon, Press Herald, July 14, 2020: ‘Heritage trees’ could be protected in Portland historic districts

For years Ellen Murphy got used to seeing a swath of large linden trees across the street from her Park Street residence, but this spring the trees were taken down to make way for an expansion project on State Street. “Judging from the size of the stumps left behind — some of which are 2 feet in diameter — they had stood in that spot for decades. I’d say some of them were about 20 feet high or more,” Murphy said of the mature lindens that used to line a parking lot at Gray and Park streets. Their removal was part of an Avesta Housing project at 75 State St., an independent and assisted living facility. New rules under consideration by the City Council may help protect trees like those lindens. The Heritage Tree Ordinance, which the council will vote on Aug. 3, would “discourage the removal or extensive pruning of Heritage Trees located in historic districts of the City of Portland on public and private property and to replace the valuable ecological services such trees provide should they be removed.” The city estimates it would cost around $41,000 to implement the program because a part-time tree inspector would be needed, as well as a work vehicle, a computer, supplies and a phone. Heritage trees are defined as oaks, maples, pines or spruce that are at least 24 inches in diameter; ornamental trees of at least 12 inches in diameter; or any native tree on the endangered list. Property owners would be able to remove those trees if they are in poor health, dead, damaged or infected, but if a tree is removed for any other reason, a permit is needed…

Phys.org, July 20, 2020: Portable DNA device can detect tree pests in under two hours

Asian gypsy moths feed on a wide range of important plants and trees. White pine blister rust can kill young trees in only a couple of years. But it’s not always easy to detect the presence of these destructive species just by looking at spots and bumps on a tree, or on the exterior of a cargo ship. Now a new rapid DNA detection method developed at the University of British Columbia can identify these pests and pathogens in less than two hours, without using complicated processes or chemicals—a substantial time savings compared to the several days it currently takes to send samples to a lab for testing. “Sometimes, a spot is just a spot,” explains forestry professor Richard Hamelin, who designed the system with collaborators from UBC, Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. “Other times, it’s a deadly fungus or an exotic bug that has hitched a ride on a shipping container and has the potential to decimate local parks, forests and farms. So you want to know as soon as possible what you’re looking at, so that you can collect more samples to assess the extent of the invasion or begin to formulate a plan of action…”

Scientific American, August 1, 2020: How Oak Trees Evolved to Rule the Forests of the Northern Hemisphere

If you were dropped into virtually any region of North America 56 million years ago, you probably would not recognize where you had landed. Back then, at the dawn of the Eocene epoch, the earth was warmer and wetter than it is today. A sea had just closed up in the middle of the Great Plains, and the Rocky Mountains had not yet attained their full height. The continent’s plant and animal communities were dramatically different. In the Canadian High Arctic, which today harbors relatively few tundra plant species, year-round temperatures above freezing nurtured a rich and diverse flora; Ellesmere Island in far northern Canada, across from the northwestern coast of Greenland, was home to alligators and giant tortoises. What is now the southeastern U.S. was dominated by tropical rain forest, complete with primates. The northeastern U.S., for its part, ranged from broad-leaved (as opposed to needle-leaved) evergreen forest to deciduous forests of ginkgo, viburnum, birch and elm, among other species. The deciduous broad-leaved forests that now cover 11 percent of North America north of Mexico were in their infancy. But that was about to change, with the spread and extraordinary diversification of what would eventually become some of the most ecologically and economically significant woody plants in the world: the acorn-bearing, wind-pollinated trees we call oaks. Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated population into the roughly 435 species found today on five continents, ranging from Canada to Colombia and from Norway to Borneo. Oaks are keystone species, foundational to the functioning of the forests they form across the Northern Hemisphere. They foster diversity of organisms across the tree of life, from fungi to wasps, birds and mammals. They help clean the air, sequestering carbon dioxide and absorbing atmospheric pollutants…

Associated Press, July 18, 2020: Study: Charlotte losing tree canopy in part to development

The tree canopy that shades much of Charlotte is in decline, according to a study which said the current coverage is threatened. A study by the University of Vermont says Charlotte lost 8% of its tree canopy between 2012 and 2018, The Charlotte Observer reported Friday. The study was done in collaboration with the nonprofit group TreesCharlotte. According to the study, North Carolina’s largest city still had 45% of tree canopy in 2018, but it is threatened. The city gained about 2,200 acres of canopy through replantings, but the study also found Charlotte lost nearly 10,000 acres, much of it in large tracts of forest cleared for development. A study by the school commissioned by the city in 2014 characterized Charlotte’s tree canopy at 47% and holding steady despite surging development…

Israel21c, July 8, 2020: Scientists discover trees have a mutual aid network underground

Israeli scientists have recently discovered that trees of different species utilize underground fungal networks to transfer carbon among them. Tamir Klein, principal investigator at the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Tree Lab, and PhD candidate Ido Rog, installed underground devices and employed sequencing techniques to analyze 1,000 root tips from 12 trees of four different species. They unearthed intricate fungi networks that connected the trees’ roots to one another and proved that they serve as a conduit for carbon sharing. While tree kinship would suggest that carbon sharing would only occur between trees of the same species in order to give them an evolutionary edge over others, carbon was found to be transferred among four species — spruce, pine, larch and beech — indicating that a different actor might be responsible for this resource management. “The fact that trees are ‘sharing their wealth’ across species suggests that there is some sort of ‘hidden’ management occurring. We think the management is dominated by the fungi,” says Klein. “Fungi need to secure their own carbon sources; it is in their best interest to ensure that all the trees within the network are healthy and strong…”

Charleston, South Carolina, WCSC-TV, July 9, 2020: Construction and tree preservation to begin on scenic Hwy. 61

The South Carolina Department of Transportation announced Thursday it will begin construction on 14.75 miles of Highway 61 in Dorchester County to improve the road’s safety and quality. Construction will begin first on the scenic 6.5-mile portion of Highway 61 from the intersection of Highway 165 to the Charleston County line. Improvements will include a new roadbed and pavement, two 11-foot wide lanes with three-foot paved shoulders, safety rumble strips on the centerline and edge lines, higher-visibility paint and reflectors and warning signs at curves. “Our refined design for Highway 61′s improvements preserves the corridor’s live oak trees that are hundreds of years old and improves citizens’ safety as they drive along the scenic route,” Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said. “Based on a detailed analysis of seven years of crash data and significant input from the community, we were able to work with Gov. Henry McMaster and other stakeholders to alter our plans to maintain the area’s historic beauty while fulfilling our commitment to make our roads safer…”

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, OnMilwaukee.com, July 9, 2020: Why were the Mount Mary University pine trees cut down?

If, like me, you’re one of the folks that is blessed enough to be able to enjoy the lovely grounds of Mount Mary University along the Menomonee River Parkway on Milwaukee’s far west side, you may have been surprised to see portion of it undergoing drastic change this week. A wooded site at the north end of the campus, along Burleigh Street, is being cleared to make way for a new $45 million housing development – by Mount Mary, the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province and Milwaukee Catholic Home – that will offer intergenerational living for sisters and seniors, as well as supportive housing and education for students at the university who are single mothers. Thus, the site is no longer wooded. Radio personality Gino Salomone noticed and posted about it on social media. “Almost every day, I would walk through the quiet and beauty of a pine forest at Mt. Mary College,” he wrote. “The majestic trees that were around for who knows how many years are gone.” According to a fact sheet provided by Mount Mary spokeswoman Kathleen Van Zeeland, about 300 trees are being cut down to make way for the building, and 225 of them were non-native Scotch pine trees that were found to be diseased and “reaching the end of their life…

Auburn, New York, Citizen, July 9, 2020: Eco Talk: How to spot the tree-eating gypsy moth

Gypsy moths have been making the news recently, as their population in some regions of the state is causing a lot of defoliation. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website, they are causing noticeable defoliation in both central and western New York. Gypsy moth populations can remain at almost undetectable numbers for a number of years, and then for some unknown or unexplainable reason the population skyrockets. When populations are high, there are an estimated one million caterpillars per acre in some forests. While a single year of defoliation will not kill hardwood trees, there is decreased fall foliage. As you may already suspect, the gypsy moth is not native to the United States. They were brought here from France in the late 1860s with the intent of developing a silk industry in the United States. The experiment was not successful and some of course escaped, becoming established in Medford, Massachusetts, and since spreading. By 1981, the gypsy moth was found throughout New York state, and they are now considered to be naturalized in New York’s forests. It is not the adult moth that causes the problem. It is the larvae (caterpillars) that hatch from overwintering egg cases in April and May that start eating the emerging young leaves of many tree species. The early damage from the tiny caterpillars often goes unnoticed. Once the caterpillars are close to an inch in length, their huge appetites kick in and become visible with thinning tree canopies. The caterpillars will grow to just over 2 inches…

Washington, D.C., Post, July 8, 2020: D.C. has become a leader in a movement to plant more diverse city trees

If you are looking for rays of hope in dark times, consider this: The urban forest in Washington is lush and vital. It is one part of our (green) infrastructure that is being maintained proactively and, from a plant lover’s perspective, has never looked more interesting or been more inspiring. Those of us who have lived in this town for a long time remember when that wasn’t the case, with an alarming decline in the canopy of the urban forest due to neglect and development, a situation that led to the creation of the nonprofit Casey Trees. The condition of the urban forest goes beyond pure aesthetics. A leafy city is a cooler, cleaner city; it’s simply a nicer place to live, and it makes us healthier in mind and body. The tree, it turns out, is the one hugging us. Today, the city government has an active program of replacing dead trees and uses interactive maps to encourage residents to get involved in the care of newly planted trees. Moreover, there is a collective sense that in an age of climate change and more extreme weather, the need for a healthy urban forest has never been greater…

Ramona, California, Sentinel, July 8, 2020: Preservationists grieve the loss of an historic Colonnade tree

A fragment of history has been ripped out of Ramona with the recent removal of a eucalyptus tree in the Ramona Main Street Colonnade. Many of the Colonnade trees were planted in 1909 to be grown and harvested for railroad ties until it was discovered the wood often splintered and cracked. Nonetheless, the trees provided welcome shade to locals traveling by horse and buggy and later offered a scenic corridor for drivers of all sorts of vehicles. The value of having a majestic gateway to Ramona that reflects the town’s rural character was recognized by the State Historical Resources Commission on Aug. 3, 2018. By unanimous approval, the commission placed the Colonnade on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic tree that was reported to have been felled June 15 was located between O’Reilly Auto Parts store at 1935 Main St. and Tanguay’s Ramona Truck & Auto repair shop at 1939 Main St. Chris Anderson, secretary of the Ramona Tree Trust which works to preserve and protect the Colonnade, said this particular tree was a replacement tree planted in 1993. Anderson said replacement trees were needed back then when the road was widened in the late 1980s and again in the early 1990s. Area landowners along with Kmart operators worked out a deal to replace the trees with Caltrans, which has jurisdiction over their right of way. Ordinarily, Anderson said a permit is needed from Caltrans to plant or remove a tree…

Durham, North Carolina, WTVD-TV, July 8, 2020: ‘I have had enough loss:’ Raleigh woman upset after she says fruit tree was trimmed without warning

“Everything you see here, my momma planted it,” Jinnean Evans told ABC11. “And my momma is gone now. My sister is gone. I have had enough loss.” She’s upset because she awoke on Tuesday morning to discover that City of Raleigh workers were cutting her beloved fruit trees. “I come down and all I could see were these four guys and they were having at it,” she said. Evans said the men told her there was a complaint that people couldn’t see when going around the curve near her Farmington neighborhood home. “All they had to do was call me and say, ‘Ms. Evans, we had a complaint,'” she said, “and I would have told them I already made arrangements to have those trees trimmed back when the fruit is gone.” The City of Raleigh said a “visual obstruction” complaint was made in 2019. According to a statement from the city, “the limbs were encroaching into the street 2-3 feet making it a safety issue for drivers and pedestrians regarding visibility…”

Cleveland, Ohio, WKYC-TV, July 8, 2020: How to keep your trees healthy during the heat wave

Trees help to clean the air. They also help to provide shade this time of year. Of course, trees are also a great way to add a little beauty outside your home and keep things inside nice and cool. But with temperatures soaring into the 90s these last few days, keeping trees healthy can be a challenge. “Trees will show signs of drought stress when we haven’t had periods of rain,” explains Tedd Bartlett from Davey Tree. “You’re going to see some curling, some dropping, even some premature fall coloring.” Bartlett says while your outdoor plants require some water on a daily basis, your trees do require way more water. “The best thing you can do is regular watering. What you want to do is water your tree 3-5 times a week depending on the rainfall,” Bartlett says. He also recommends paying attention to what’s around the base of the tree and doing what he describes as “deep watering.” “Pull away some of the mulch from the base of the tree and create a well. When I say deep watering, it doesn’t mean digging out any soil away from the tree. It means applying enough water that filters into the root system deeper into the ground,” he explains. If you do notice that your tree has started to die, don’t worry. There is still time for it to recover if you catch it in time…

New Atlas, July 7, 2020: Beverly Hills to turn green with $2 billion tree-filled development

A sizable area of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, is set to turn green – literally – thanks to a new plant and tree-filled development designed by Foster + Partners. Assuming all goes to plan, the project will create two new residential towers and a hotel, and will feature sustainable design, including extensive greywater recycling to meet its considerable irrigation needs. The project, named One Beverly Hills, is being created in collaboration with Gensler, landscape architect Mark Rios, and developers Alagem Capital Group and Cain International. It will be located on a 17.5 acre (roughly 7 hectare) site currently home to the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and Beverly Hilton hotels. The existing hotels will be integrated into the new development, which will add an “ultra-luxury hotel,” two greenery-covered residential high-rise towers containing 303 residences in total, and a pavilion with retail and dining space. There will also be 4.5 acres (1.2 hectares) of publicly accessible botanical gardens and sculpture gardens, with pathways and extensive landscaping. In all, over 300 species of plants and trees will be planted…

Palm Springs, California, Desert Sun, July 7, 2020: UC Riverside scientists discover treatment for disease that threatens California citrus trees

UC Riverside today announced that its scientists have discovered a new treatment for a disease that has affected millions of acres of citrus crops worldwide and continues to threaten crops in California’s citrus hot spots including Riverside County. Fingertip-sized, moth-like flying insects spread citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing or HLB, which can destroy plants’ vascular systems and render fruits misshapen and unsellable, and typically kills infected trees within a few years. The new treatment is an antimicrobial peptide that kills the bacterium in affected crops. It’s a naturally occurring molecule found in wild citrus relatives, but it needs to be applied a few times each year to fend off new insects that can keep re-infecting crops as time goes on. There remains no one-time systemic cure for the disease, although researchers contend the new treatment can be sprayed on healthy crops periodically as a preventive measure…

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Post, July 7, 2020: Family that lost hundreds of trees to failed pipeline project settles with company, gets land back

A Northeastern Pennsylvania family who watched as work crews, accompanied by armed federal marshals, destroyed their budding maple tree farm to make way for the failed Constitution Pipeline has settled with the company Williams for an undisclosed amount. A federal court has also vacated the eminent domain taking of about five acres, reversing an order it made more than five years ago. “We’re really glad that it’s ended,” said Catherine Holleran, co-owner of the 23-acre property that has been in the family for 50 years. “We’ve gotten our land returned to us. That was our main objective right from the first.” The Constitution Pipeline project would have carried Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania to New York state. Though the project received federal approval and the necessary permits from Pennsylvania regulators, New York blocked the pipeline by not issuing permits. Williams dropped the project in February. The Holleran family of New Milford fought a lengthy battle to prevent the company from building the pipeline across their property. But in March 2016, the crews arrived at the 23-acre farm in rural Susquehanna County along with the federal marshalls, who wore bullet proof vests and carried semi-automatic weapons. The crew spent several days clearing about 558 trees, including some that were hundreds of years old…

National Science Foundation, July 7, 2020: Warming reduces trees’ ability to slow climate change

The world’s forests play an important role in mitigating climate change. Trees are carbon sinks — they absorb more carbon dioxide than they emit. But according to new National Science Foundation-funded research, the most prolific tree in North America, the Douglas fir, will absorb less atmospheric carbon dioxide in the future and therefore do less to slow climate change. “More warming for trees could mean more stress, more tree death and less capacity to slow global warming,” said University of Arizona dendrochronologist Margaret Evans. Dendrochronology is the scientific method of dating tree rings, which can provide data on climate and atmospheric conditions. “Until now, forests have stabilized the climate, but as they become more drought-stressed, they could become a destabilizing carbon source,” Evans said. Evans is senior author of a study published in Global Change Biology. To study the impact Douglas firs could have on future climate, researchers gathered a massive amount of data to understand the relationship between tree-ring width and climate. Tree rings are annual layers of growth made of carbon. When rings are thinner, that suggests the trees pulled less carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. “We chose to study Douglas firs because they have a huge environmental niche,” Evans said. “Douglas firs grow in the western half of North America, ranging from as far south as the mountains of southern Mexico, to the mountain peaks punctuating the Sonoran Desert, to the Pacific Northwest rainforests, to the frigid peaks of the Rocky Mountains…”

Lansing, Michigan, WSYM-TV, July 6, 2020: Homeowner tries to protect 100-year-old tree from sidewalk project

A Delhi Township woman is vowing to do whatever it takes to protect a more than 100-year-old tree on her property from a sidewalk construction project. The project is a part of the “Safe Routes 2 School” program. Holt Public Schools and Delhi Charter Township received a grant from the state to make safer routes for children walking to and from school. “I contacted the community development as soon as it started and I said, you know I have this big tree out front,” said homeowner Jessica Bouvier. “I really want to make sure you guys don’t cut into the roots, so is there any way that we can build above the tree so we don’t kill it.” Construction crews plan to work to remove earth and clear a path to level the ground in front of the tree for a sidewalk. Monday, Bouvier stood in front of the tree to prevent that from happening. She said the township previously told her the tree’s root system would be avoided. “It would cut into more roots and it would definitely kill this tree, for sure,” Bouvier said. “I had an arborist come out here he said if they cut into it, it’s going to die…”

Concord, New Hampshire, Monitor, July 6, 2020: If you want a tree that will last a century, what should you plant?

Everybody knew that COVID-19 would bring a lot of changes but I’m not sure many people anticipated society’s sudden love of bushy trees. “This is our busiest spring ever. We have never sold as many big trees as we have this year,” is how Rob Farquhar, garden center manager at Brochu Nursery in Concord, put it. What’s the COVID connection? Social distancing. “People say: How can I hide my neighbor? I’ve never been home this much!” Farquhar said. “They want big shade trees and evergreen screening.” Even without neighbors to hide from, I’ve spent a lot more time contemplating the trees on my property during these stay-at-home months and have become positively Lorax-like in my admiration. When you really look at trees you have to admit that they are weird, monstrous, incredibly cool things. But they also seem imperiled. I’ve lost track of how many of our tree species are being attacked by invasive insects, invasive plants, new diseases, the shifting climate or a combination of all four. Pine, oak, maple, hemlock; varieties of each seem like potential candidates to join elm and chestnut – and, soon, ash – on the list of tree species wiped out in North America. That leads to a question: What should I plant if I want the tree to last for a century or more and turn into a gorgeous giant like a century-old ash tree I’ve admired in a neighboring town?

Denver, Colorado, KCNC-TV, July 6, 2020: Forest Service Shuts Down Scenic Railroad’s Tree-Cutting Operation

An attempt by the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to remove trees considered to be a wildfire risk along a stretch of track was halted by a cease-and-desist order from the United States Forest Service. This after the Forest Service filed a $25 million lawsuit last year against the railroad for allegedly causing one of the largest wildfires in the state’s history. The federal government claims a cinder from one of the railroad’s coal-fired steam locomotives ignited the 416 Fire in June 2018. That blaze burned more than 54,000 acres. The railroad faces other lawsuits seeking liability for the fire, including one from the insurance company of a nearby ski resort that was forced to close during the fire. The railroad denies its locomotive caused the fire, but months later committed to converting at least one locomotive to diesel fuel from coal. By the time the Forest Service cease-and-desist order was issued in late May, eight miles of the tree-cutting project had already been completed. Now, however, tree-cutting is at a standstill as the historic locomotives run on a limited schedule and USFS personnel review what has been downed and cleared thus far. “One of the chief complaints we hear is about fire mitigation,” said John Harper, general manager of American Heritage Railways, which owns DSNGRR. “And now we’re actively mitigating and people are concerned and upset about it…”

Nature, Reply to “Height-related changes in forest composition explain increasing tree mortality with height during an extreme drought” (July 7, 2020)

Recently, we published a study1 tracking tree mortality through an extreme drought for ~1.8 million individual trees over 8 years, revealing a continuous upward trend in mortality risk with respect to tree height. In the accompanying paper, Stephenson and Das dispute our findings, highlighting two scenarios in which broad changes in forest composition control mortality trends. We re-analyze our full tree-level dataset2, controlling for forest type by testing for an increasing height-mortality trend in ten unique topographic positions and ten unique forest types (Fig. 1). In all topographic positions and all forest types covered in the original 40,000-ha study area, we still find a consistent upward trend in mortality rate with increasing tree height. We also find that plot-based sampling schemes may not confidently detect the full height-mortality trend due to undersampling of tall trees in forests. Our remote sensing-based approach helps solve this logistical challenge. With these lines of evidence, alongside our original findings1, we argue in favor of a broad height-mortality trend that is interactive and modulated by species-specific factors. Drought-induced tree mortality is controlled by a complex series of interacting stressors—not by a single binary factor…

Toronto, Ontario, Star, July 6, 2020: Toronto unleashes killer fungus in its last stand against an invasive insect wiping out our ash trees

The city is betting on an experimental program to control emerald ash borers before the destructive bugs kill off what’s left of our ash trees. Before the invasive species of Asian insect started making its way up the Highway 401 corridor from the U.S. about 10 years ago, Toronto was home to an estimated 860,000 ash trees. Since then, the emerald ash borer infestation has killed or resulted in the removal of all but about 10,000 ash trees in the city, with the rest likely headed for the same fate unless a solution is found. The answer — hopefully — is blowing in the wind and dangling from the high branches of ash trees in the Guild Park and Gardens, where the final battle is underway. My regular walking route includes the Guild Park, where signs were recently attached to ash trees asking people not to fool around with ropes that lead to two types of traps suspended far above the ground. Josh McMeekin, a forest health care inspector with urban forestry, said the Guild area is “a unique place, very ash dominant…”

Decatur, Illinois, Herald-Review, July 5, 2020: Code change would regulate what Decatur residents can grow on their property

City officials are seeking to regulate how residents can grow native prairie grasses on their properties, aiming to allow those plantings without bringing unwanted wildlife and other problems into neighborhoods. The Decatur City Council on Monday will consider amending city code to allow for native planting areas, with guidelines and some restrictions. In a memo to the city council, City Manager Scot Wrighton said the goal was to offer an ordinance that “adds value to the urban landscape while still controlling the undesirable elements of uncontrolled prairie grass pastures.” Wrighton said the proposed rules were developed after staff met with an advisory committee that included representatives from several organizations, including the Macon County Conservation District, Richland Community College, U of I Master Gardeners Club of Decatur, Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District, Sustain Our Natural Areas and the Decatur Audubon Society. The council has a history with the issue. Members agreed last year to consider amending city code to allow for native planting areas and approved a temporary moratorium on the enforcement of high-grass nuisance code violations for properties that claimed to have authentic native or prairie grass landscaping…

Los Angeles, California, Times, July 3, 2020: Worries mount in Yucca Valley that Joshua trees will be designated an endangered species

To hear local leaders tell it, the proposed listing of western Joshua trees as an endangered species would be an economic catastrophe for the high desert Town of Yucca Valley. It would place an onerous regulatory burden on property owners, they say, at a time when they are being pinched by declining revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a state mandate to install a $375-million sewer system on parcels where the trees grow, as some residents put it, “like weeds.” But state wildlife authorities have recommended that Joshua trees be considered for listing. The recommendation was based on a review of a petition submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity, which argues that the trees are facing the risk of extinction after years of development, drought and more frequent wildfires due to climate change. And therein lies the pickle for the town of 21,000 residents along California 62 about 25 miles north of Palm Springs. On Monday, Assemblyman Chad Mayes (I-Yucca Valley) added a new wrinkle to the controversy on behalf of his constituents: He introduced a hastily crafted emergency bill that would amend the California Endangered Species Act to make it easier to take a threatened or endangered species found to be causing significant economic hardship or impacting critical infrastructure such as a sewer system. Mayes is especially interested in changing regulations that grant temporary protection to Joshua trees or any other species in the process of being considered for listing. “If the tree is just a candidate for listing,” Mayes said in an interview, “it doesn’t seem fair to make our struggling desert communities pay a heavy price for the international problem of climate change…

Urbana, Illinois, University of Illinois Extension Service, July 5, 2020: Illinois’ big trees are on the map

From the depths of the Shawnee National Forest to backyards in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois’ biggest trees are branching out. For the first time, the state’s champion trees are now available as an interactive digital map. “For more than 58 years, the Illinois Big Tree Register has inspired generations of big tree hunters who relish the opportunity to find and nominate the next champion tree,” says Jay Hayek, a University of Illinois Extensionforestry specialist in the department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES). “The map is an exciting new way for us to continue to discover and recognize the value of our largest native tree species.” NRES graduate and forestry technician Julia Allison developed the map, available at go.illinois.edu/championtrees, to give big tree hunters access to detailed information about each of the 88 champion trees listed on the Illinois Big Tree Register. The map includes tree species details, GPS coordinates, measurements, and their resulting scores, as well as a list of the 10 largest trees on record to date. Big tree enthusiasts can use the map to track down Illinois’ top-ranked tree, a 122-foot tall Eastern Cottonwood in Ogle County, and the county with the most champion trees, Union County in Southern Illinois. The register began in 1962 as a citizen-science outreach project to recognize the Prairie State’s largest native trees, and anyone with a tape measure can nominate a tree…

Ellsworth, Maine, American, July 1, 2020: Hungry, itch-inducing caterpillars take toll on humans, trees

If there is one good thing to say about browntail caterpillar season, it’s that it is wrapping up. As far as enemies go, this foe is unassuming. But don’t be fooled by its small, fluffy appearance. The caterpillar’s hairs can cause a fierce itch when they land on skin. “It’s awful — the itch is worse than chicken pox,” says Valerie Folckemer, who encountered the insects at her house on Newbury Neck in Surry. The caterpillars are brown and can be identified by the two white stripes that run along their backs and by two distinctive orange dots. Their tiny hairs are barbed and toxic. “I am covered in a severe rash from this stupid caterpillar and have been for an entire week now; it just seems to be getting worse, not better,” said Jill Rothrock of Hancock. The itching started June 17 when she was running errands in Ellsworth. Her daughter spotted a caterpillar on her shirt. “I didn’t even look, I just screamed and tried to shake it off my shirt. My daughter screamed and ran away,” Rothrock recalled. A friend plucked the insect off her shirt with a paper towel. “Then the rash started getting worse. By the time I went to bed, I had what looked like hives on my chest, shoulder and neck.” The following Monday she went to the doctor, who prescribed a compound for the rash. It didn’t help much. “My doctor and his nurse said they are getting so many calls about this caterpillar and rashes that it is causing people,” she said. There is little good to say about browntail caterpillars, according to Tom Schmeelk, a forest entomologist with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry…

Rosenberg, Texas, Fort Bend Herald, July 1, 2020: Cost of free oak trees could cost city $344,000 in maintenance annually, report says

In February, Fort Bend County Road and Bridge granted the city of Rosenberg 280 free oak trees. But nothing is really free. At the most recent Rosenberg City Council workshop meeting, council members discussed the cost of landscape irrigation for the live oak trees donated by Fort Bend County. City staff revealed that irrigation and installation for the trees could cost anywhere between $240,000 and $344,000. This project would be scheduled in three phases to allow the county’s contractor time to prepare the trees. Council agreed in February that the trees would be planted at center medians along major thoroughfares along Bryan Road, Spacek Road and possibly Town Center Boulevard. City staff explained that while the trees would be free, the city would have to pay for irrigation and other upkeep. “When we first discussed this, I had a feeling this was going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,” council member Isaac Davila said. “We have more important things to spend money on. That’s a wish list. If we had a lot of extra money then maybe. But we don’t. I’m against it.” Mayor Bill Benton said nice towns have a lot of things like sidewalks and trees. “I think we are out of touch with our constituents, especially the poorer ones,” Davila responded…

Southern Living, July 1, 2020: The Manchineel Is a Scary Tropical Tree That Can Kill You

There’s a toxic coastal plant you need to know about, and it’s called the manchineel tree. You may have seen one during your travels—it’s often accompanied by cautionary signs and a bright red band painted around its trunk as a warning to all who pass by. While not all manchineel trees are so painted, they require a fervent advisory, because they are one of the most dangerous plant species around. The manchineel (aka Hippomane mancinella, aka the Tree of Death) is native to coastal areas in southern North America, such as South Florida, as well as the northern reaches of Central and South America and the Caribbean. The plant gets its name from the Spanish word manzanilla, which means “little apple.” It is so named because the fruit and foliage of the plant resemble those of apple trees. It’s also been called manzanilla de la muerte, or “little apple of death,” a foreboding moniker if ever we’ve heard one. As it happens, all of the fearsome names are warranted. The manchineel has bright green leaves and round, yellowish-green fruits, making it a rather ordinary looking tropical plant. Don’t let it fool you, though: Every part of the manchineel is poisonous. The fruit is toxic, and the sap from the leaves and stems is too. If touched, the irritants found in manchineel sap can produce inflammation and painful blisters on the skin. Passersby are warned not to stand underneath the tree when it’s raining, as dripping water can transfer toxins from the tree to anyone nearby. And finally, burning manchineel bark has been known to cause irritation, even blindness, due to airborne poison ash…

Arkansas City, Kansas, Cowley Courier Traveler, July 1, 2020: Tree removal digs up complaint

Some of the trees planted as part of a 2006 Summit Street beautification project are being cut down and removed in response to complaints from businesses. But removing the trees has also led to complaints from residents who like them. Public Services Supervisor Tony Tapia said several business owners in the 100 block of South Summit Street want the trees removed because they hide their signs and make their location less visible. “Like TCK investments,” he said. “They’ve got a new sign and they want the tree removed.” Tapia said that Riggs Tax Service has also complained about his sign being blocked and was also concerned about the tree on the north side of his building. He said the tree was breaking up the sidewalk and filling his bottom stairwell with leaves. “So the only thing I can do is take them out,” Tapia said. In some areas, the trees are causing a lot of damage, Tapia said. Sidewalks in front of Starlyn Venus Insurance at Summit Street and Chestnut Avenue are being badly damaged by tree roots. Another problem area is near the Council on Aging building in the 300 block of South Summit Street. He said Bob Niles complained that the roots were popping up the tile work in the doorway, so that tree was also removed. Tapia said the city is not planning to remove all of the trees, just the ones causing problems and receiving complaints. The only other tree slated for removal at this time is in front of The Grinder Man restaurant…

Miami, Florida, Miami Today, July 1, 2020: Million Trees plans pruned

Million Trees Miami, an initiative funded by Miami-Dade County, has set its sights on establishing a 30% tree canopy in the county through tree giveaways, plantings, grants and special programs directed at shading bus stops and playgrounds. In 2016, the Miami-Dade County Urban Tree Canopy Assessment placed the county’s coverage at 19.9%. However, Gabriela Lopez, community image director for Neat Streets Miami, which oversees Million Trees, said up to 30% of this canopy may have been lost over the past four years due to storms such as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Dorian. The organization’s original goal, she said, was to plant one million trees in Miami Dade; roughly the number needed to reach the 30% canopy based on 2016 estimates. Now, the goal is to plant as many trees as possible while the county works to update the assessment via satellite imaging and reassess, a project that Ms. Lopez said should be completed by next spring. This percentage, she continued, “is the national standard for a healthy urban environment.” In addition to providing aesthetic benefits, Ms. Lopez said studies have shown that trees provide economic perks. In fact, well-placed trees can raise property values, increase the time and money pedestrians spend at shopping centers, and help residents and businesses save up to 56% on annual air-conditioning costs, according to the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service…

Southern Living, June 30, 2020: Chaste Tree Produces Pretty Lilac Blooms in Summer

The shrubs are blooming and the trees are bursting—you know what time it is. Summertime brings gorgeous flowers, lush leaves, and bright colors in every corner of the garden. Seeing all the vibrant garden changes makes the summer heat almost bearable—almost. This season, a blooming tree with pretty lilac flower spikes has been catching our eyes, and we think it’s a gorgeous planting for Southern gardens. Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) is also known as Texas lilac tree, Vitex, chasteberry, and Monk’s pepper. It’s a great tree for small yards and compact spaces. The multi-trunked tree grows to heights of 10-15 feet tall and tends to spread. It produces small, spiked blue and lavender flowers in summer along with long, fragrant grey-green leaves. During the early hot days of the season, branched panicles emerge. Those are the colorful, easily recognized flower spikes that make chaste tree such a popular planting. Some selections produce pink and white flowers too. It’s a hardy planting that’s drought tolerant and can stand up to the hot Southern climates, but you’ll get the best bloom by providing full sun and regular water in well-drained soil. It’s even hardy enough to plant in coastal conditions. Chaste tree can also withstand garden pests and browsing deer. It does require regular pruning to keep the tree looking its best. After planting, it doesn’t take long for Southern gardeners to declare this tree their favorite summer bloomer in the garden…

Indianapolis, Indiana, WTHR-TV, June 30, 2020: Friends pushing to remove tree blocking stop sign after deadly crash

A group of students in Marion made their voices heard after losing a classmate. Katie Jo Maynus, 18, was a graduate of Oak Hill High School. She was killed in a crash after she went past a stop sign at the intersection of 4th Street and Butler and was hit by a semi. Her friends blame a tree that was blocking the stop sign.”It is dangerous because the trees you can barely see any cars when you cross by until you are right up on them,” said Emily Henry, one of Maynus’ friends. Some of the branches were cut back after the deadly accident and a “Stop Ahead” sign was put up. Even with those changes, the stop sign is still hard to see and Maynus’ friends, family and even one of her teachers want the tree to come down. “I’ve lost kids to drunk driving accidents and cancer and suicide and stupid accidents but this is the first one that is 100 percent preventable and I am not going to rest until it is taken care of,” said teacher Danielle Hewitt. “We do not want any other family to go through what we have gone through and are going through and will continue to go through for the rest of our lives,” said Maynus’ grandmother, Arvida Newcomer…

Port Huron, Michigan, Help trees regrow leaves if gypsy moths get to them (June 30, 2020)

First introduced in eastern New England more than 100 years ago, the gypsy moth was brought to the United States for use in silkmaking, said Scott Lint, Forest Resources Division forest health expert for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.But they escaped. Arriving in Michigan in the 80s, the species caused serious problems in the early 90s. While the insects have become somewhat naturalized over the years, there are occasionally outbreaks when certain conditions are suitable. These outbreaks usually collapse on their own, but there are two areas of the the state causing concern for the DNR this summer. “We suspect this population will also collapse, but the issue is from a nuisance standpoint for homeowners,” he said. “They have to tolerate thousands of caterpillars crawling on their house and stripping all the leaves off their trees…

Elgin, Illinois, Daily Herald, June 29, 2020: Elgin will hold off on removing 10 trees after residents’ complaints

The city of Elgin will not preemptively cut down 10 trees along Chicago Street after residents complained about such a plan. The 10 trees, including some large silver maples, are on the public parkway. They had been slated for removal because of “a high likelihood of considerable damage or death” — and therefore a risk to property and people — during the ongoing rebuilding of East Chicago Street, city spokeswoman Molly Gillespie said. The city sent a letter with an apology to residents last week and offered to plant “a larger-than-typical replacement tree,” Gillespie said. After negative feedback from some residents, the city opted instead to allow the homeowners who live across from the trees to decide whether to keep them or replace them before construction proceeds further, Gillespie said. “We will be doing as much as practical to not harm the trees that are requested to remain standing, but if during construction we encounter a tree and have concerns it is a threat to safety, we will take steps to remove it,” she said…

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, WBRZ-TV, June 29, 2020: Dead tree debate taking too long, could have saved homeowner money

A dead tree is a topic of debate between the city-parish and a property owner for more than two months. Kim Scarton’s records show that she called the city-parish’s 311 call center about a dead tree behind her fence line on June 26, 2019, and took down a work order. But it wasn’t until 2 On Your Side got involved did she receive an answer from the city-parish about who it thinks should take responsibility. “We requested removal, we got a work order number and they said they’d be in touch,” said Scarton. A couple of weeks went by. Scarton says her neighbor called the city-parish after a tree behind her house was damaged during Tropical Storm Barry. On July 15, 2019, she says a representative from the South Drainage Department came out to investigate and told her the trees were not on their properties, but in the city-parish servitude. On July 23, 2019, two city-parish arborists visited Scarton’s home. “We were told they’re on city property and they’ll be recommended for removal,” Scarton said. After following up a few times, Scarton said she didn’t hear anything. Then on August 24, 2019, a branch fell from the tree onto Scarton’s roof. Estimates to repair the damage exceed $3,500…

Normal, Illinois, Pantagraph, June 30, 2020: TRACKING TREES – Watch now: Normal completes inventory of 12,000 trees

Standing on the Ironwood Golf Course, Reid Gibson can identify a tree’s species, diameter and condition within a matter of minutes. Gibson, an arborist with Davey Resource Group, has entered thousands of trees in Normal into a program that will help the town fight off invasive insect species and keep track of its urban canopy. With a handheld computer attached to his tool belt, he is able to pinpoint the exact location of the tree into a geographic location system to create a database of the town of Normal’s trees. “In the future, we’ll use the tree inventory for years to come, so it’s a huge benefit for the town,” said Tyler Bain, Normal park maintenance supervisor. “We’re trying to put trees in the urban forest in the forefront because it’s not always there. “We’re trying to protect what we have and improve it for the future. Gibson completed a nearly two-month long inventory of 12,000 trees throughout Normal. He has surveyed roughly 250 trees per day, working 10 hour days Monday through Friday to prepare a database for Normal’s tree canopy…”

Grand Rapids, Michigan, WXMI-TV, June 29, 2020: 85-year-old says tree service took his money and ran

A tree service in Barry County recently featured by the FOX 17 Problem Solvers is accused of taking money and not doing the work. Now an 85-year-old veteran says he too is out hundreds of dollars. Russell Golden still works hard for his money and takes good care of it. “I can’t afford to lose money and other old people can’t either,” says Golden. In March, he noticed some of his oak trees beginning to rot, so he says he hired Darren Huffman of Darren’s Tree Service to do some trimming. Golden made a contract for the job that outlined its $900 cost. “I had him sign a contract, he was supposed to do it in a week. And he said he had to have half the money, so I wrote him out a check for $500. I never seen him since,” Golden explained. And Golden says the check did cash. FOX 17 has tried multiple times to get in touch with Darren, once again Monday night, we received his voicemail…

Atlanta, Georgia, Saporta Report, June 28, 2020: Citizens group proposes an alternative tree ordinance for Atlanta

Atlanta may get a new and improved tree ordinance after all. The Atlanta City Council held a Tree Ordinance Work Session on June 25 to discuss a proposed draft ordinance prepared by consultants and released March 20. But it was an alternative draft tree ordinance presented by a citizens group that stole the show. Chet Tisdale, a retired environmental attorney who serves on the City of Atlanta’s Tree Conservation Commission, helped convene 22 citizens – professional arborists, developers, an ecologist, attorneys, members of watershed protection organizations, members of tree protection groups among others – who worked the alternative draft tree ordinance. The citizens version addresses many of the criticisms the public had of the draft tree ordinance proposed by the consultants, with some people questioning whether it had more loopholes than the tree ordinance Atlanta has had in place for the past 20 years. Tisdale said the citizens alternative is still a work in progress, and he welcomed the public to propose ways to make it “a tree protection ordinance that the city of Atlanta deserves…”

London, UK, Daily Mail, June 29, 2020: Arborist cuts off his own leg while chopping down a tree in New South Wales

An arborist has accidentally amputated his leg while cutting down a tree in New South Wales. The 51-year-old man was working in Wilberforce, 61km northwest of Sydney, on Monday when a rope wrapped by his leg got caught in a nearby woodchipper. The machine pulled the rope taut, severing his leg beneath the knee. The force of the rope being yanked into the woodchipper sent the man’s detached leg ‘flying into the air’, the Careflight team told ABC News. The man suffered from significant blood loss due to the amputation and his colleagues provided first aid. ‘The moment the leg went flying through the air, the quick actions of others meant they were able to grab and preserve it,’ a CareFlight spokeswoman said. Careflight’s rapid response helicopter were called to the scene just before 11.30am. NSW Police officers who were first on scene had already tied a tourniquet around the man’s leg, significantly increasing his chances of survival after the incident…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2020: A Row Over Trees Could Spark the Next Israel-Lebanon War

At the heart of tensions that threaten to trigger a new war between Israel and Lebanon are lines of trees planted along their blurred border. The trees are growing next to Israel’s concrete border walls that tower over Lebanon. They won’t just make this place greener. The trees will eventually block Israeli spy cameras that peer across the line. That is something Israel won’t allow. Now the United Nations is trying to broker a deal to prevent this dispute from sparking another deadly conflict between the two sides. “The cutting of a branch here could trigger a war,” said Andrea Tenenti, spokesman for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, which has more than 10,000 peacekeepers spread out across the south of the country. The tensions center not just on the trees but also who is planting them. Green Without Borders is an environmental group aligned with Hezbollah, the Iran-backed military and political force designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization. It has run tree-planting projects with Hezbollah before and, with Lebanese military support and government backing, the group has also built a series of cinder block lookout towers that Israeli officials say are used by Hezbollah to plot attacks…

Kennebec, Maine, Journal, June 28, 2020: Knotty tree fungus strikes cherry, plum trees in Augusta

A nasty fungus has infected numerous cherry trees in the city, including 14 at a city park where officials plan to have them cut down and removed. The black knot fungus is slowly killing cherry trees at Monument Park, off Memorial Circle, clinging to the trees’ branches and leaving them barren and dying. Community Services Director Leif Dahlin said the city’s arborist, Rich Wurpel, has spent hundreds of hours over the past several years trying to battle back against the fungus, but it keeps coming back. This year, it has spread to the point trees will be cut down before they die on their own — an effort to prevent further spread of the fungus. “You can see where he’s clipped and clipped and clipped,” Dahlin said of Wurpel, noting he wipes his pruning clippers off between each cut to prevent spreading the fungus. “But this year it exploded and, tragically, those trees are done. They’re done. It’s time for them to go.” The fungus is also affecting cherry trees in Mill Park, Calumet Park and other places, which will also be cut down. Experts say the fungus can also harm plum trees. Dahlin briefed the Augusta City Council on the situation last week because people are sure to see trees being cut down at Monument Park, adjacent to Memorial Circle, according to City Manager William Bridgeo…

Beverly Hills, California, The Hollywood Reporter, June 25, 2020: The Community Feud Over Beverly Hills’ Trees

What’s going on with the trees in Beverly Hills? That’s what a lot of 90210 insiders have been asking for months after the Beverly Hills City Council voted in February to move forward with the removal of close to 1,200 trees at a cost of $2.1 million, citing fire safety in the wildfire-prone area. Phase 1 was due to begin March 20 in the Trousdale Estates area, but the removal process is taking a breather amid the pandemic while, at the same time, opposition is mounting. A rep for the city of Beverly Hills tells THR that the removal plan is in “pause mode right now” and no trees are currently being removed. When the work began — “as we often find,” the rep added — some residents indicated they were not aware of the plans, but due to the pandemic, in-person outreach was not possible. “So we are resetting,” with plans to hire a consultant to develop a wildfire assessment report. Once that is done, community meetings will be scheduled for the fall, and if approved, further tree trimming would begin later in the year. But local leaders should expect resistance. THR has learned that dissenters of the removal include Jeffrey Katzenberg. Calls to other residents known to disapprove of the plan were not returned. Grassroots efforts are underway to fight the removal, and THR obtained a letter signed by Nickie Miner, president of the Benedict Canyon Association, who writes that “healthy ‘green’ trees we now know act as a firewall for structures in case of wildfires. The owl population along with other wildlife habitat in our trees and hills are necessary to maintain ecological balance. Especially in this period of national emergency, while our community, the nation and the world is under siege by a virus that attacks the lungs, we want to ensure there is no impression that the City of Beverly Hills is attacking our oxygen producing trees…”

Atlanta, Georgia, WABE Radio, June 25, 2020: Atlanta Is Still Trying To Redo Its Tree Ordinance

The city of Atlanta is taking another whack at developing a new tree protection ordinance. The rule is meant to protect trees in the city, but there’s a lot of unhappiness with it. And replacing it has been a challenge.The old ordinance is about 20 years old, according to City Councilman Matt Westmoreland. For years, city officials have said they’ll work on an update in an effort to maintain the city’s tree canopy or even to expand it, with a goal of 50% tree cover. An analysis released a few years agofound that as of 2014, Atlanta was at about 47%, and losing trees as older, smaller houses were torn down and replaced with larger ones. “It does an inadequate job of protecting trees, which it’s intended to do,” Planning Commissioner Tim Keane said Thursday at a City Council work session. “Also the process within the tree ordinance is convoluted and unpredictable. So it’s a little bit of a kind of worst-case scenario.” Last year, work began on a rewrite of the ordinance as part of the city’s new urban ecology framework. But a meeting in November meant to update the public on the new ordinance ended up, as one City Council member referred to it, a “nightmare.” Attendees at that meeting were frustrated with the lack of progress on developing new rules to protect trees. Another tree meeting that was supposed to happen the following night was abruptly canceled…

Columbus, Ohio, The Ohio State University, June 23, 2020: Orange “Dust” from Callery Pears

Homeowners in southwest Ohio were surprised yesterday to awake to find sidewalks, cars, and streets beneath Callery pears (Pyrus calleryana) covered in a fine sprinkling of orange dust. The unusual event spawned rampant speculation on social media and captured the attention of the local news media. The source of the orange patina appears to be Gymnosporangium clavipes; the cedar-quince rust fungus. The “orange dust” is actually the spores of the fungus and the source are tube-like structures, called aecia, which are sprouting from the fruits and to a lesser extent, the stems of infected Callery pears. Fruit infections cause no harm to the overall health of infected trees. Although the stem infections may cause minor tip dieback, the damage is usually inconsequential to tree health. The rain of orange is generally considered to be an aesthetic issue; however, affected homeowners may have a different perspective. Plant pathologists developed the Disease Triangle to graphically illustrate the three conditions that must be present at the same time for a plant disease to develop. Viewed from a management perspective, the Triangle is helpful with showing that by removing any one of the three components, disease development can be prevented…

Rochester, New York, Democrat & Chronicle, June 25, 2020: Gypsy moths invade Ontario County; some trees ‘almost completely stripped’

It started sometime in early June. Bob and Kathy Taylor noticed tiny caterpillars showing up everywhere. The creatures quickly multiplied outside their house in South Bristol — crawling on walls, railings and steps, swinging and falling from trees and underneath gutters — ferociously chomping on tree leaves. Forget sitting outside on the deck, where chewed up leaves and millions of caterpillar droppings rain down. Gypsy moths are raising havoc, and not just on the Taylor property on Mosher Road. The leaf-eating pests are showing up in other areas of South Bristol and elsewhere. There is a serious outbreak of gypsy moth caterpillars this year in the Bristol Mountain area and several other locations within Ontario County,” said Russell Welser Sr., resource educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County. Trees are being defoliated. This caterpillar in its later growth stage can eat up to a square foot of leaf surface in a single day…”

Futurity, June 24, 2020: Swaying trees could power new forest fire alarm

The remote forest fire detection and alarm system gets power from the movement of the trees in the wind, researchers report. The device, known as MC-TENG—short for multilayered cylindrical triboelectric nanogenerator—generates electrical power by harvesting energy from the sporadic movement of the tree branches from which it hangs. “As far as we know, this is the first demonstration of such a novel MC-TENG as a forest fire detection system,” says lead author Changyong Cao, who directs the Laboratory of Soft Machines and Electronics in Michigan State University’s School of Packaging. “The self-powered sensing system could continuously monitor the fire and environmental conditions without requiring maintenance after deployment,” he says. For Cao and his team, the tragic forest fires in recent years across the American West, Brazil, and Australia were driving forces behind this new technology. Cao believes that early and quick response to forest fires will make the task of extinguishing them easier, significantly reducing the damage and loss of property and life. Traditional forest fire detection methods include satellite monitoring, ground patrols, and watch towers, among others, which have high labor and financial costs in return for low efficiency. Current remote sensor technologies are becoming more common, but primarily rely on battery technology for power…

Birmingham, Alabama, WBRC-TV, June 24, 2020: Foresters warn homeowners to inspect trees on their property

Trees can provide shade on a hot day, and beauty to the landscape, but they can also pose a threat to your life and property, especially during inclement weather. You should also double check your insurance policy to see what’s covered. “If you’re going to allow those trees to live on your property, just be aware of their condition,” said Hoover City Forester, Colin Connor. Connor said you should be diligent about inspecting the trees on your property. “Preventative maintenance is a better practice. Considering the risk that trees can pose to property, whether it be your home, an automobile, heaven forbid, your life, knowing those risks, it’s important to be aware of the trees not just accepting that they’re growing in your yard,” Connor explained. Connor recommends walking your property following storms looking for differences in your trees, like leans or parts of the tree that no longer have leaves…

Legal Cheek, June 24, 2020: Branching out: Could we give legal rights to trees?

In times gone by, membership of Greenpeace would have caused some to form stereotypical, new-age assumptions about you, whereas today joining Extinction Rebellion gives rise to no such stigma. Whether you’re a tree-hugging, sandal-wearing, all organic vegan or simply thinking about switching to a bamboo toothbrush, we’re all increasingly aware of the pejorative impact that humans are having on our planet. Not least politicians, who continuously fail to reach consensus on how the international community should manage various environmental problems. However, in amongst the environmental hullabaloo, in an odd Guardian article here, or a chance TED Talk there, there are some who think that there should be a paradigm shift in the way we think about the degradation of nature — they think that trees (and other natural objects) should have their own legal rights. “Don’t be silly,” I hear you cry. “Trees can’t have rights, they’re not even human!” But hold on. The notion that a natural object could be a rights holder is not as bizarre as it first seems. After all, companies, nation states and even ships have legal personality and they’re obviously not human, so it deserves serious consideration. The idea that trees can have legal rights (hereafter called “the Trees Thesis”) was originally posited by Christopher Stone in an article published in 1972 entitled ‘Should Trees Have Standing? — Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects’…

Greenbiz, June 24, 2020: Is destruction the inevitable fate of our forests?

The world lost 9.3 million acres of tropical primary forests last year — an area nearly the size of Switzerland constituting some of the most valuable ecosystems on the planet for climate stability and biodiversity conservation. According to the latest data on Global Forest Watch, the area of forest loss in 2019, both overall and in such forest-rich countries as Brazil, the DRC and Indonesia, was remarkably similar to the year before. Does this mean we’re stuck at this unacceptably high level of forest destruction, year after year, despite the many, varied efforts to stop it? Not necessarily. Deforestation could get dramatically worse or dramatically better, depending on the road that we choose. Remember that all of the reported 2019 forest loss happened before any of us had heard of COVID-19 and does not reflect any impacts of the pandemic. It’s important to consider the 2019 numbers on their own terms, in the new light of current health and economic crises, and in the context of decisions shaping the recovery…

Albuquerque, New Mexico, Journal, June 23, 2020: Group plans for fall forest planting of ‘tree islands’

The Las Conchas Fire of 2011 burned more than 150,000 acres of Bandelier National Monument and the Jemez Mountains. To help reforest the region, the Nature Conservancy teamed up with federal, state, university and tribal partners. In the fall of 2019, the team collected 350,000 ponderosa pine seeds – half of which will grow into seedlings and be replanted. It was the state’s biggest seed collection effort since the 1970s. But many more seeds are needed for reforestation, said Collin Haffey, conservation manager for the Nature Conservancy of New Mexico. “When you’re talking about multiple species of seed, piñon, and Douglas fir and aspen, those seeds are really hard to come by in any given year,” Haffey said. Ponderosa seedlings from Bandelier are now growing at the New Mexico State University John T. Harrington Forestry Research Center in Mora. The collected pine cones were first placed in a greenhouse. “That changes the temperature within the cone and allows them to open up,” said Owen Burney, the center’s director. “If you go in there on a pretty warm day, it sounds like a big giant bowl of Rice Krispies as the cones all slowly open up.” The crew places the pine cones in a tumbler, cleans the seeds that fall out and tests them for viability. Seeds can also be stored in a freezer for up to 50 years. The group will start planting the trees this fall and also plans to collect more seeds. The goal is to plant 100,000 trees in the Jemez Mountains over the next two years…

Lansing, Michigan, State Journal, June 23, 2020: Invasive spotted lanternfly could threaten Michigan fruit, hops, tree crops

The state of Michigan is asking residents to be on the lookout for an invasive species that could damage or kill more than 70 different crops and plants in the state. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the spotted lanternfly could be the next invasive species to threaten Michigan’s agriculture and natural resources. The lanternfly could negatively affect a wide variety of plants including grapes, apples, hops and hardwood trees. So far, the species has not been detected in Michigan, the DNR said in a June 23 news release. However, it is “spreading rapidly” across the country. It was first detected in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania. To date, infestations have been found in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. “Prevention and early detection are vital to limiting the spread of spotted lanternfly,” said Robert Miller, invasive species prevention and response specialist for Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The spotted lanternfly damages trees, crops and plants by sucking sap and secreting large amounts of a sugar-rich, sticky liquid called honeydew. This honeydew and the resulting black, sooty mold can kill plants and foul surfaces. Additionally, the honeydew often attracts other pests, especially hornets, wasps and ants, affecting outdoor recreation and complicating crop harvests…

London, UK, Telegraph, June 24, 2020: Hundreds of thousands of Guinness kegs fertilise Christmas trees in lockdown

Hundreds of thousands of unused kegs of Guinness have been repurposed to fertilise Christmas trees during the coronavirus lockdown. The forestry project is one of several environmentally friendly disposal routes the famous Irish brewery employed as it brought back millions of litres of stout, beer and ale from closed pubs and bars. At the start of the lockdown in Ireland, Guinness reduced operations at its St James’ Gate brewery in Dublin to the minimal level required to keep its yeast stocks alive. It was the first time that had happened since the 1916 Easter Rising rebellion in the city. Now production has ramped up once again as pubs and bars across Ireland, the UK and beyond prepare to start welcoming customers back… Aidan Crowe, the director of operations at the brewery, said Guinness decided in the early days of lockdown to support its on-trade customers by retrieving the kegs that were set to be unused due to the closure of hospitality outlets. “It’s been a tough time in the brewery but it’s been a much tougher time if you’re trying to run on-trade outlets in this part of the world,” he said. “That’s why it was very, very important right from the start of the lockdown to support the on-trade as much as we could. That’s why we took the decision to bring back all of the beer from the on-trade. “Basically what we do is we take all the keg beer back and we decant it and we disperse the product through a number of environmentally sustainable routes.” Mr Crowe said the vast majority of the beer goes to willow and Christmas tree plantations, to be used as nutrients in those farms…

Bozeman, Montana, Daily Chronicle, June 23, 2020: Trees around Bozeman slow to rebound from cold fall

Last fall’s cold temperatures are affecting deciduous trees this summer. Leaves died while still on branches before falling off as a result of the weather, which set off a chain reaction being felt months later. “We had these sudden, deep cold temperatures that killed leaves and therefore robbing those trees of their nutrients for growth in the spring,” said Cheryl Moore-Gough, a Montana State Extension horticulture specialist. This spring and summer, lots of trees have either died or are on the brink of death. While they may survive, leaves didn’t bud the way they normally do. The trend is evident in Bozeman and statewide, Moore-Gough said. Moore-Gough recommends people don’t remove trees assumed to be dead until after the Fourth of July to give them ample time to start growing leaves again. As recently as this week, Moore-Gough has seen green ash trees — the type most affected by the early cold snap — around Bozeman starting to bud. “It’s not too late for those trees to recover,” she said. Homeowners can check their trees by seeing if branches are brittle. If they snap easily, the branch is likely dead, Moore-Gough said. Using a thumbnail or knife to scrape the surface of the branch can reveal a green or brown color underneath. If it’s green, the branch is alive and if it’s brown, it’s dead. The thumbnail test can also be used on young trees’ trunks…

Franklin, Indiana, Daily News, June 23, 2020: Historic leaning tree to come down, commissioners decide

The locally famous leaning tree that spawned generations of memories will come down, county officials said Monday. The Johnson County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved removing the tree that, for more than 150 years, stood at a 30-degree angle about 3 miles south of Franklin in the 3500 block of Airport Road. Two weeks ago, the three-member board tabled discussion of the tree after receiving conflicting analyses from master arborists who examined it. On Friday, the county received the results of another, more in-depth study that the two arborists—Michael G. Webster, of SavATree, and Lindsey Purcell, of Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources— collaborated on. The second study revealed that the tree is at “extreme risk” of falling within a year. The arborists found that a large dead limb in the canopy is particularly at risk, but recommended the entire tree be removed, as interior rot is also above acceptable levels. The 70-inch diameter tree has an average of five inches in diameter of sound interior wood on the east and west sides of the tree, according to the report. But a tree of this size should have 20 inches of sound wood to be deemed low risk for failure, the report said…

Phys.org, June 22, 2020: When planting trees threatens the forest

Campaigns to plant huge numbers of trees could backfire, according to a new study that is the first to rigorously analyze the potential effects of subsidies in such schemes. The analysis, published on June 22 in Nature Sustainability, reveals how efforts such as the global Trillion Trees campaign and a related initiative (H. R. 5859) under consideration by the U.S. Congress could lead to more biodiversity loss and little, if any, climate change upside. The researchers emphasize, however, that these efforts could have significant benefits if they include strong subsidy restrictions, such as prohibitions against replacing native forests with tree plantations. “If policies to incentivize tree plantations are poorly designed or poorly enforced, there is a high risk of not only wasting public money but also releasing more carbon and losing biodiversity,” said study co-author Eric Lambin, the George and Setsuko Ishiyama Provostial Professor in Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. “That’s the exact opposite of what these policies are aiming for…”

Atlas Obscura, June 22, 2020: A Franken-Forest of Fruit Trees Is Growing on Governors Island

On Governors Island, just a five-minute ferry ride from Manhattan, art professor Sam Van Aken plots his fantasy orchard. He plans on opening a public park with 50 blossoming trees that bloom into a mosaic of pinks, reds, purples, and whites. Come summer and fall, after the flowers have faded, visitors will be able to leisurely pick among 200 rare varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, and apples. Van Aken is a master at grafting, an agricultural practice that involves transplanting one type of tree stem onto another, forming a sort of arboreal chimera. For his most well-known project, his “Tree of 40 Fruit,” Van Aken gathered rare varieties of stone fruit and grafted 40 different cultivars onto a single tree in Syracuse, New York. Now, he wants to open an entire orchard of these fantastical fruit trees. Van Aken hopes his Open Orchard will be both a breathtaking art installation and a living library that documents New York’s lost agricultural history. “I think it’s a great way to maintain diversity,” says Amit Dhingra, a professor of horticulture at Washington State University who works in rare-fruit conservation. On top of the novelty for the public, a repository of fruit genetics can help scientists like Dhingra learn more about disease resistance or hardiness in the face of climate change. “These types of projects should be planted wherever they can,” he says. “I’m envious that we don’t have one in my own town…”

Richmond, British Columbia, News, June 22, 2020: Nine trees getting axed in Richmond city centre

One Richmond resident isn’t happy about the loss of nine oak trees that line Lansdowne Road at No. 3 Road, which are being removed in conjunction with the redevelopment of the property. A sign appeared on the first tree late last week giving “48 hour notice” that the trees will be removed because they are in “poor condition” and the line of trees “conflict with linear park construction.” The date of removal is June 22 or later. Don Flintoff said he noticed the sign late last week and was puzzled that what appear to be healthy trees are going to be removed. The oak trees are located on Lansdowne next to what used to be the community police building and Richmond Centre for Disability. That lot and three adjacent ones to the north are being developed with an office tower and three residential towers with 365 units – 20 of which will be affordable housing units. “It’s an area of town that is going to be high-rise – we need these trees,” Flintoff said. A 10-metre wide linear park will be built where the trees are, and it is part of a pathway linking the Garden City Lands to the Oval. The developer will build the linear park, and then it will be transferred back to city ownership. The plan is for the developer to pay $11,700 to compensate for the trees, and double the number will be planted in the city…

Des Moines, Iowa, WOI-TV, June 21, 2020: Emerald ash borer creeps its way into Des Moines ash trees

The City of Des Moines is treating and removing Ash Trees following the discovery of emerald ash borer (EAB) infestations. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says EAB’s are a “small, metallic green, invasive wood-boring beetle native to east Asia.” These critters attack and kill ash trees throughout their lives. Adult beetles can live on the outside of the trees and feed on leaves during the summer while their larvae feed on the living plant tissue and underneath the bark. DNR says EAB larvae that tunnel through the tree are “ultimately” what kills the trees, and humans are to blame for the spread of the beetles. EAB’s can kill a tree in two to four years. The entire state of Iowa is under federal firewood transport quarantine, according to the DNR. That means it’s strongly recommended that firewood only be obtained from within the county that it’s burned. So, how is the City of Des Moines treating the EAB problem? The Des Moines Emerald Ash Borer Management Program is responding to the infestations by treating or removing infected trees. The City says they have a plan to either treat or remove every ash tree in the next five years…

Chicago, Illinois, Sun-Times, June 21, 2020: Chicago fails to live up to its motto — City in a Garden — with every tree lost

A century ago, Chicago was a leader in shading its neighborhoods with an urban forest. But as Chicago continues to lose trees, other cities have caught up and surpassed us. For a host of environmental and quality-of-life reasons, It’s time Chicago worked to regain its status as exceptional when it comes to tree-lined streets. Since 2010, due to disease and other factors, Chicago has lost an average of 10,000 more trees than it has planted every year. That’s 200 fewer trees in each of the city’s 50 wards on average each year. The city now has a tree canopy that covers just 19% of its land. The metropolitan area has a canopy of 15.5%. By comparison, New York has 21% coverage and Los Angeles has 25%. Restoring Chicago’s urban forest will be a big job, but the longer we wait, the more difficult the job becomes. New trees need many years to grow to maturity. Trees benefit cities and human health in many ways. They cool areas that otherwise would be heat islands. They filter the air, helping people with respiratory problems, and absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. They soak up stormwater that otherwise results in flooding. They create habitat for wildlife, including birds that fly through on semiannual migrations…

Cadillac, Michigan, News, June 21, 2020: Black dots on maple trees

Samples of maple leaves infected with tar spot have been recently reported by Michigan State University Diagnostic Services. Tar spot is a foliar disease of maple caused by two species of fungus in the genus Rhytisma, which results in tarry black lesions up to an inch in diameter on the leaves. Tar spot occurs frequently in Michigan, although the level of severity may vary substantially year to year. What does tar spot do to maple trees? Tar spot on maple is most commonly caused by either R. acerinum, which produces large spots between 0.5 and 1.5 inches, or R. punctatum, which produces pinpoint-sized lesions. While tar spot mostly reduces the aesthetics of a tree, severe fungal infections can result in premature defoliation. R. acerinum is much more common in Michigan than R. punctatum. Although the most noticeable symptoms are present in late summer, infection actually occurs in spring as leaves are developing…

Boise, Idaho, Statesman, June 21, 2020: 2020’s wildfire season has been delayed. What should you expect as summer heat arrives?

The outcome of the fire season heavily depends on the weather during the spring months. This year’s wet and cool spring has delayed the onset of the fire season, which usually starts in June. But that doesn’t mean we will see low fire activity during the rest of the season. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the weather from July to September will likely be warmer and drier than average, which “suggests an above-normal fire season despite its slow start.” But what does this mean and how do experts reach these conclusions? “There’s no way to truly predict how many wildfires you’ll get,” during a season, said Jared Jablonski, fire information officer for the Bureau of Land Management Boise District. The fire forecast evaluates the potential “to have more fires … as well as the potential for those fires to behave more aggressively and grow very quickly…”

New York City, The New York Times, June 18, 2020: PG&E Ordered to Pay $3.5 Million Fine for Causing Deadly Fire

A California judge ordered Pacific Gas & Electric on Thursday to pay a $3.5 million fine for causing the Camp Fire, the blaze that killed scores of people and destroyed the town of Paradise in 2018. Judge Michael R. Deems of Butte County Superior Court read the sentence, which matched a plea agreement between the company and a local prosecutor, after hearing statements from survivors of the 84 people killed in the fire, many of whom said PG&E was getting away with a slap on the wrist. The judge seemed to echo that sentiment. “If these crimes were attributed to an actual human person rather than a corporation, the anticipated sentence based on the applicable statutes to which the defendant has pleaded guilty would be 90 years to be served in state prison,” Judge Deems said. “Nevertheless, the court’s sentencing options are limited. As a corporation, PG&E cannot be sentenced to prison. The only punishment that the court is authorized to impose in this situation is a fine.” PG&E pleaded guilty on Tuesday to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of illegally causing the fire. An estimated $30 billion in liability from that and other fires forced the company to seek bankruptcy protection in January 2019. State regulators have said that the utility repeatedly failed to maintain a transmission line that broke from a nearly 100-year-old tower, igniting the Camp Fire. The company’s failure was all the more glaring because the line cut through a forested and mountainous area, and some of the company’s towers had been knocked down by strong winds well before that blaze…

Phys.org, June 18, 2020: Use of forests to offset carbon emissions requires an understanding of the risks

Given the tremendous ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions—a sort of climate investment. But as with any investment, it’s important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust, researchers say, much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke. In a paper published in Science, University of Utah biologist William Anderegg and his colleagues say that forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate changewith a proper understanding of the risks to that forest that climate change itself imposes. “As long as this is done wisely and based on the best available science, that’s fantastic,” Anderegg says. “But there hasn’t been adequate attention to the risks of climate change to forests right now…” This paper, part of that roadmap, calls attention to the risks forests face from myriad consequences of rising global temperatures, including fire, drought, insect damage and human disturbance—a call to action, Anderegg says, to bridge the divide between the data and models produced by scientists and the actions taken by policymakers…

London, UK, Daily Mail, June 18, 2020: Forget about birds and bees, scientists prove SOAP BUBBLES can be used to pollinate fruit trees, which could help compensate for the dramatic declines in global bee populations

Scientists in Japan have found they can pollinate fruit trees using soap bubbles coated in pollen. A team of researchers from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology,  led by Eijiro Miyako, created a soapy solution that can be blended with up to 2,000 pollen grains per bubble and blown out of a plastic gun or dropped from above via drone. The team used the bubbles to pollinate pear trees in a small test orchard, and had a 95% success rate, about the same as manually pollinating the plants with a brush. ‘Some might dismiss this as something of a fantasy, but the soap bubble is effective for pollination,’ Miyako said in an interview with the BBC. ‘I was probably the only person on the planet to believe this when I started the “playful” work. Maybe I still am now.” The idea came to Miyako one day while he was playing with his young son, who was accidentally hit in the face by one of the soap bubbles they had been blowing. ‘There was no damage because soap bubbles are soft, light, and flexible,’ Miyako recalled…

USA Today, June 16, 2020: As Joshua trees are considered for threatened status, some warn cost of designation would be too high

In the high desert, Joshua tree symbolism is as ubiquitous as the plant itself. The Victor Valley’s two most-populous cities — Victorville and Hesperia — both feature Joshua trees in their official logos. The same can be said for Victor Valley College, the Hesperia Recreation and Park District, at least four area school districts and many local businesses. Joshua trees have sprung up in popular culture, as well. A U2 album bears the name, and the Las Vegas-based band The Killers have incorporated them into its merchandise. Writers like Tom Wolfe and John Steinbeck have attempted to describe their gangly attributes, and the National Park Service, which sees millions visit Joshua Tree National Park each year, has described them as “straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.” But not all is right in the world of Joshua trees…

Washington, D.C., Post, June 17, 2020: While covid lockdowns keep others at home, these Londoners are swinging through the trees

They call themselves tree surgeons. But swinging from branch to branch and taking turns slicing through trails of dead wood at neck-craning heights, Adam Rendell and Sam Davis look more like urban avengers who have figured out how to vanquish the coronavirus lockdown and still get a paycheck. “It’s social distancing at its finest,” Davis says after an hour amid the treetops of St. Pancras Gardens, his workspace for the moment in one of London’s greenest boroughs. When Britain’s lockdown began on March 23, Davis, a 29-year-old former bartender, saw friends working in restaurants and in the film industry suddenly put on furlough. Rendell, a 27-year-old who walked away from an IT job three years ago, said co-workers at his former office endured pay cuts and were told to work from home. The pair consider themselves lucky to practice a trade that, by its very nature, keeps them safe from crowds and contagion…

Portland, Oregon, KGW-TV, June 17, 2020: Trees are going up in flames in Albany and it’s all for science

Oregon State University researchers are conducting a unique study setting up real trees and then setting them on fire. “What we are doing is, we are measuring the total number of embers that are released when you burn a tree,” said David Blunck, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Oregon State University. It’s fairly common knowledge when trees burn they give off embers. And those embers can quickly start other fires. Knowing how many embers a type of tree gives off, and just how far they travel, can be crucial when it comes to predicting the potential spread of a forest fire. The researchers say this information can also be used in models to predict where fires will spread. “You think about where people put resources, where you put houses, how you protect human lives, all those are tied in to being able to predict where they go,” said Blunck. It may also help homeowners decide what trees to plant around their homes. For example, the study found Ponderosa Pines do not produce a lot of hot embers. Junipers on the other hand give off a lot…

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Online, June 17, 2020: Animals rescued from spotted lanternfly bands

This spring, sticky bands around trees are catching much more than spotted lanternflies. The traps, wrapped around tree trunks, are catching birds, bats, squirrels and possums. Raven Ridge Wildlife Center in Washington Boro receives at least two calls a day for help with a trapped animal. “This is serious,” says Tracie Young, Raven Ridge’s director and wildlife rehabilitator. “A lot of these animals are not surviving.” Placing a barrier like hardware cloth or chicken wire over the bands allows the lanternflies to be trapped yet prevents animals from being stuck. There’s also a new type of trap that does not use sticky tape. As spotted lanternflies hatch, now is the time to add traps to trees, stopping the spread of this invasive pest. Since the insect was first spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014, it has damaged grapevines, hops, fruit trees and more. Scraping egg masses is one way to kill the insect. Wrapping sticky bands around trees, especially tree of heaven, can catch nymphs as they walk up the tree. Raven Ridge started getting calls about animals caught in the traps in the spring. The wildlife center rehabilitates injured, orphaned and abandoned wildlife. “A lot of people are putting this tape up but they’re not thinking that this is baby season,” Young says. “This is when the baby wildlife is starting to explore their environment, working with their parents, learning to fly, going up a tree and crawling down…”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 17, 2020: Philly’s ambitious plan to add trees could save hundreds of lives, study finds

A study led by a U.S. Forest Service researcher suggests that a Philadelphia program to increase tree cover across the city would prevent hundreds of premature deaths citywide, particularly in its poorest neighborhoods. The city’s goal under its Greenworks program has been to boost tree canopy cover to 30% in each neighborhood by 2025. The new research suggests that increasing the canopy to that degree could result in around 400 fewer premature deaths annually, because of a variety of factors. Even a more modest increase, however, would allow more Philadelphians to live longer. Further, growing the canopy could have the most dramatic impact in poorer areas, which tend to have the lowest tree canopy. “To the best of our knowledge, our report is the first citywide health impact assessment of estimated effects of a tree canopy policy on premature mortality,” the authors wrote in an article published in April in Lancet Planetary Health…

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Times, June 16, 2020: British Columbia’s old-growth trees may soon be gone if policies don’t change

Most of British Columbia’s old-growth forests of big trees live only on maps, and what’s left on the ground is fast disappearing, a team of independent scientists has found. A recent report revealed the amount of old-growth forest still standing in the province has been overestimated by more than 20% and most of the last of what’s left is at risk of being logged within the next 12 years. In the report, the scientists revealed most of the forest counted as old growth by the province is actually small alpine or boggy forest. It’s old — but the trees are not the giants most people think of when they are referring to old growth. Less than 1% of the forest left in the province is composed of the productive ground growing massive old trees, some more than 1,000 years old, including coastal temperate rainforests on Vancouver Island and a fast-vanishing inland old-growth temperate rainforest on the west slopes of the Rockies, unique in the world. While the authors agree with B.C.’s official tally that 23% of the forest in the province is old growth, “that is incredibly misleading,” said Rachel Holt, an ecologist based in Nelson, B.C., and an author of the report. “They are mixing in bog forests where the trees are no taller than me, and I am 5 feet tall, and they are mixing in high-elevation tiny trees. They are old and valuable but they are not what you, or I, or anyone else thinks of when they think of old growth…”

Infosurhoy, June 17, 2020: Scientists Find Genes to Save Ash Trees From Deadly Beetle That Is Expected to Kill Billions of Trees Worldwide

An international team of scientists have identified candidate resistance genes that could protect ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a deadly pest that is expected to kill billions of trees worldwide. In the new study, published recently in Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, sequenced the genomes of 22 species of ash tree (Fraxinus) from around the world and used this information to analyze how the different species are related to each other. Meanwhile, collaborators from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service in Ohio tested resistance of over 20 ash tree species to EAB by hatching eggs attached to the bark of trees, and following the fate of the beetle larvae. Resistant ash trees generally killed the larvae when they burrowed into their stems, but susceptible ones did not. The research team observed that several of the resistant species were more closely related to susceptible species than to other resistant species. This meant the UK-based genome scientists were able to find resistance genes, by looking for places within the DNA where the resistant species were similar, but showed differences from their susceptible relatives. Using this novel approach, the scientists revealed 53 candidate resistance genes, several of which are involved in making chemicals that are likely to be harmful to insects…

Medical Express, June 16, 2020: Study in Philadelphia links growth in tree canopy to decrease in human mortality

The first city-wide health impact assessment of the estimated effects of a tree canopy initiative on premature mortality in Philadelphia suggests that increased tree canopy could prevent between 271 and 400 premature deaths per year. The study by Michelle Kondo, a Philadelphia-based research social scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and her partners suggest that increased tree canopy or green space could decrease morbidity and mortality for urban populations—particularly in areas with lower socioeconomic status where existing tree canopies tend to be the lowest. The study, “Health impact assessment of Philadelphia’s 2025 tree canopy cover goals,” examined the potential impact of Greenworks Philadelphia, a plan to increase tree canopy to 30 percent across the city by 2025, on human mortality. The analysis is one of the first to estimate the number of preventable deaths based on physical activity, air pollution, noise, heat, and exposure to greenspaces using a tool developed by public health researchers in Spain and Switzerland called the Greenspace-Health Impact Assessment…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, June 16, 2020: Keep an eye on climbing vines to prevent damage to trees

Some gardeners like the look of ivy twining up a tree trunk. However, vines that twine too far can be bad news for the tree, according to Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. “A few vine stems on a tree’s trunk are mostly harmless,” Yiesla said. They cling to the bark with fine, hairlike rootlets but don’t penetrate the wood. However, “if a vine grows up into the branches, it can crowd out the tree’s leaves,” she said. “The vine’s leaves may block the sunlight that the tree’s leaves need to manufacture food.” Eventually, a tangle of vines can weigh enough to break tree branches. A large vine also will compete with the tree. “The vine has its own root system, which is absorbing water and nutrients from the same soil as the tree’s roots,” she said. Over time, competing with a vigorous vine may weaken a tree, making it more susceptible to drought, pests and diseases…

Washington, D.C., Courthouse News Service, June 15, 2020: High Court Green-Lights Pipeline Route Through Appalachian Trail

Atlantic Coast Pipeline won the right to cut through the Appalachian Trail with a 7-2 Supreme Court reversal on Monday. Once completed, the 605-mile natural gas pipeline will span West Virginia to North Carolina, including one 16-mile stretch of the George Washington National Forest. Though the pipeline company obtained special-use permits to that end from the U.S. Forest Service, environmental groups that filed suit claimed that any work would require congressional approval because a tenth of the pipeline in the forest would run through the Appalachian Trail. The Fourth Circuit agreed to block construction on the basis that the National Park Service administers the Appalachian Trail, but the Supreme Court reversed Monday. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said federal lands cannot be converted into the property of the National Park System merely because the Park Service obtained rights-of-way agreements for the length of the trail within national forests. “Easements are not land, they merely burden land that continues to be owned by another,” he wrote.“If analyzed as a right-of-way between two private land-owners, determining whether any land had been transferred would be simple,” the 18-page opinion continues. “If a rancher granted a neighbor an easement across his land for a horse trail, no one would think that the rancher had conveyed ownership over that land. … Likewise, when a company obtains a right-of-way to lay a segment of pipeline through a private owner’s land, no one would think that the company had obtained ownership over the land through which the pipeline passes…”

Clemson, South Carolina, Clemson University, June 15, 2020: Inspectors survey Low Country trees after invasive beetle discovered

An invasive species of beetle discovered for the first time in South Carolina has state and federal officials conducting surveys in Charleston County to determine the extent of the insect’s spread. The Asian longhorned beetle was found by a homeowner in Hollywood, S.C., who contacted Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry (DPI) to report it. A DPI inspector collected the insect for identification and conducted a preliminary survey of the trees on the property. At least four maple trees appear to be infested and inspectors have captured live beetles. “We were very fortunate that the residents reported it when they did,” said Steven Long, assistant director of Clemson Regulatory Services who oversees DPI and invasive species. “We think it is confined just to this local area, but we are just getting started with our surveys.” Clemson’s Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) National Identification Services have confirmed the insect’s identity. The Asian longhorned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, is a wood-boring beetle that threatens a variety of hardwood trees, including maple, elm, ash, sycamore, poplar and willow. It is not a pest of the oak species that are more abundant in South Carolina. As the beetle bores into the tree it interrupts the flow of life-giving sap and weakens the tree, ultimately killing it. Infested trees also can become safety hazards, since branches can drop and trees can fall over, especially during storms…

Inspire More, June 15, 2020: 10 Trees That Couldn’t Resist Eating Their Neighbors

Have you ever said something like, “I’m so hungry I could eat a cow”? Sometimes we get so distracted by food that we feel like we could eat just about anything. The same can be said for trees! OK, trees don’t really eat things, but if you plant one in the wrong spot, its trunk will resort to growing around any barriers in its way. A famous example of this phenomenon is the Vashon Island Bicycle Tree. The bike is embedded in the wood about 7 feet above the ground. Many people speculate about how the old human-powered vehicle ended up there. For example, some say a soldier left it there before he went to war and never came back to retrieve it. Regardless of what happened, it looks like this tree tried to eat a whole bike, and it’s not the only one! Here are 10 unique trees that strayed from their usual diet of sunshine and water…

Home-Dzine, June 14, 2020: Beware of Trees Close to Swimming Pool

I have had problems with my swimming pool for over a year and finally got round to having this seen to this winter only to discover quite a serious problem. For the past year, our swimming pool has had a problem with air in the system. I have noticed quite a lot of air bubbles in the filter of the pump motor, a lot of bubbles coming from the outlet valve, and a lack of pressure when attaching the pool cleaner. Having checked all the seals and connections, nothing faulty could be found and I couldn’t quite decide what needs to be done next. It was becoming a problem to run the pool cleaner, due to the fact that as soon as it was connected, the pressure would drop so much that the creepy wouldn’t even clean the pool properly. After doing quite a bit of research and looking into all the possible problems, the only thing I could think of as the problem was a hole somewhere in the pipes…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Inquirer, June 15, 2020: Spring freezes are chilling some berry and peach harvests in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

The exceptionally gentle winter that was so kind to energy consumers and road budgets evidently had a well-cultivated dangerous side, sowing the seeds of a rough harvest for some of the region’s peach orchardists and berry farmers. After fast-forwarding the growing season and exposing precocious buds and blooms, one of the mildest wintry stretches on record was followed by an extraordinary sequence of frosts and freezes in mid-April and May. “Bam! It came out of nowhere,” said Pete Furey, executive director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau. “We’ve heard reports of whole farms losing their peaches in Gloucester County,” said Furey. The 100-year-old Wm. Schober Sons Orchards & Farm Market in Monroeville was among the victims. “We lost about 90% of our peaches,” said owner John Hurff Sr., whose great-grandfather founded the company…

Idaho Falls, Idaho, East Idaho News, June 14, 2020: What you didn’t know about watering your lawn, trees, and garden

As the summer progresses and temperature’s rise, proper watering is critical to keep your plants happy, as well as to prevent issues in the future. A general rule of thumb is to water your plants according to their needs; and their water needs are different from plant to plant as well as their age and the time of year. This can be a tricky thing to handle and many problems arise due to improper watering. In our arid climate, many plants are chronically underwatered rather than overwatered. Shade trees growing in a lawn are one of the most likely victims of drought stress since people think that they are getting enough water since the grass is green, so therefore the trees must be getting enough water as well. Many times this isn’t true. Most often homeowners water their lawns for short amounts of time on a daily basis, rather than giving the lawns and trees a deep soak of water on an intermittent schedule. When I refer to a deep soak, that means that you have moisture penetrate down at least two and possibly three feet into the soil. When the common mistake of often and light watering happens, the grass normally soaks up the majority of the water, and it never gets past 6 inches into the soil. Therefore shade trees become chronically drought stricken as most of their water absorbing roots are within the top 2 feet of soil. A good rule of thumb for established trees, (meaning they have been in the ground at least two to three years), is to give them a deep soaking every two weeks during the summer time. But there are exceptions to this…

Provo, Utah, Daily Herald, June 14, 2020: Garden Help Desk: How to fix a leaning tree

Question: Can I fix a leaning tree? I have a leaning tree in my yard, and I thought I might be able to pull it back straight now that we’ve had a lot of rain and the ground has been soaked so that it won’t lean further or fall over. Is there a good way to do this?
Answer: Your chances of successfully straightening a leaning tree depend on several factors: • Did the tree lean gradually as it grew? • Did the tree tip suddenly during wet and very windy weather? • How long has it been since you first noticed the changing angle of the tree? • How severe is the angle of the tree? • What is near the tree? Some trees grow at an angel, reaching away from shade and toward the sun. Trees like this are usually stable but will naturally and gradually grow in the direction of more light. Leave trees like this alone; you can’t pull or push a tree like this into a vertical position. Some trees lean slowly with the angle becoming more severe every year. These trees are a sign that something is wrong in the landscape. Is there a leaking sprinkler valve keeping the soil wet? Does the tree have a girdling root that is gradually pushing the tree in one direction? Have you been watering too frequently, reducing the stability and vigor of the root system? Trees like this aren’t good candidates for straightening. The damage to the tree and the root system would be severe and the tree isn’t likely to be a safe, stable tree even if you could manage to push or pull it straight, which is unlikely…

Buffalo, New York, Spectrum News, June 14, 2020: Certified Arborist Explains How to Inspect Trees in WNY

Western New York is known for its beautiful trees, but if those trees aren’t maintained properly, they can become damaged, which is why it’s critical to inspect them from trunk to leaves. “Trees provide so much value to us as humans, so it’s important that people care for them because they have so many qualities that enhance our lives,” says ISA Certified Arborist Tom Anderson. According to Anderson, winters in Western New York have been changing with increased wind. “It’s common for us to have windstorms with 70 miles per hour winds, so the most important thing from an arborist standpoint is the safety of our trees and our landscapes,” he says. Homeowners are advised to check their soil to make sure that nothing is heaving, inspect trunks for cracks and note any dead or hanging branches. “Trees are unpredictable, so if you have a tree concern, it’s important to have a certified arborist come out and inspect the property to make sure that you have safe trees, so that you can enjoy your landscape for the summer months,” he explains. Something else to look for is the Gypsy Moth population…

Seattle, Washington, Times, June 11, 2020: Tips for hiring the pros who will keep your trees healthy

Though they appear healthy most of the time, on occasion your trees might become shady characters, done in — and perhaps ultimately brought down — by disease, damage or both. To keep your trees healthy, or to get rid of dying ones, you may want professional advice, skill and labor. To help you find this help, nonprofit consumer group Puget Sound Consumers’ Checkbook and Checkbook.org has surveyed its members, “Consumer Reports” subscribers and other randomly selected consumers about their experiences with area tree care services. Until July 15, Checkbook is offering free access to its ratings of tree care services to readers of The Seattle via this link. You don’t have to be an expert to spot many potential tree problems. Examine your trees several times a year for the following: Discolored leaves and thinning in the tree’s crown; Roots pulled loose from the ground and fungal growth on the roots and main trunk; Dead and fallen branches more than two inches in diameter; Deep vertical cracks on opposite sides of the main trunk; Sawdust on the trunk from wood-boring insects; A trunk that noticeably leans in one direction and a branch canopy that is not generally balanced; Other unusual deformations and deposits on leaves, limbs or bark. Other reasons you might need tree work include eliminating damage to your house or utility wires from rubbing or falling limbs; letting light and breezes more readily reach your house or yard; and protecting foundations and drainage systems from invading roots…

Frontiers in Plant Science, June 11, 2020: How Many Tree Species of Birch Are in Alaska? Implications for Wetland Designations

Wetland areas are critical habitats, especially in northern regions of North America. Wetland classifications are based on several factors, including the presence of certain plant species and assemblages of species, of which trees play a significant role. Here we examined wetland species of birch (Betula) in North America, with a focus on Alaska, and the use of birche tree species in wetland delineation. We sampled over 200 trees from sites, including Alaska, Alberta, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. We used genetic data from over 3000 loci detected by restriction site associated DNA analysis. We used an indirect estimate of ploidy based on allelic ratios and we also examined population genetic structure. We find that inferred ploidy is strongly associated with genetic groupings. We find two main distinct groups; one found throughout most of Alaska, extending into Alberta. This group is probably attributable to Betula kenaica, Betula neoalaskana, or both. This group has a diploid genetic pattern although this could easily be a function of allopolyploidy…

Boise, Idaho, Post-Register, June 10, 2020: Line trimmers damage trees

Question: My neighbor said that I am damaging my trees by trimming the grass around them with a line trimmer. Is that true? What is my alternative?
Answer: One of the more popular uses of line trimmers is to trim grass and weeds growing around trees. An occasional use around a well-established tree probably does little damage. However, weekly use around trees, especially young ones, is devastating. Every time the line hits the bark of a tree, a little outer bark is removed. As fast as line trimmers rotate, that may be a hundred times in one trimming. After 10 or 20 trimmings, there may be little or no bark left near the soil line on young trees. The inner bark of a tree contains the tubes, which carry food manufactured by the leaves down to the roots. If some of these tubes are damaged, less food reaches the roots. With less food, root growth slows and fewer new roots are produced. Slowing root growth means the tree can support fewer leaves. This reduces the growth rate and can actually reduce tree size as leaves are shed to balance top growth with root capacity. Once all the conducting tubes are cut, no more food reaches the roots and they begin to die. A slow, painful death of the leaves and branches follows…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, June 11, 2020: Consider several questions before giving up on a damaged tree

We get questions from time to time regarding how to handle or what to do with a damaged tree. “Should I cut it down? What can I do to save the tree?” I ran across a publication that our Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) published. It was a publication called the “Tree Care Kit.” I hope the following information will help you assess a trees properly before writing off a damaged tree as a “goner.” Homeowners should evaluate their trees by asking the following questions: Other than the storm damage, is the tree basically healthy and vigorous? If the tree is basically healthy, is not creating a hazard, and did not suffer major structural damage, it will generally recover if first aid measures are applied immediately after the storm. Are major limbs broken? The larger a broken limb is, the harder it will be for the tree to recover from the damage. If most of the main branches are gone, the tree may have little chance of surviving. Has the leader (the main upward-trending branch on most trees) been lost? In species where a leader is important to upward growth or a desirable appearance, saving the tree may have to be a judgment call. The tree may live without its leader, but at best it would be a stunted or deformed version of the original. Is at least 50 percent of the tree’s crown (branches and leaves) still intact? This is a good rule of thumb on tree survivability. A tree with less than half of its branches remaining may not be able to produce enough foliage to nourish the tree through another season…

Phys.org, June 10, 2020: Bedrock type under forests greatly affects tree growth, species, carbon storage

A forest’s ability to store carbon depends significantly on the bedrock beneath, according to Penn State researchers who studied forest productivity, composition and associated physical characteristics of rocks in the Appalachian ridge and Valley Region of Pennsylvania. The results have implications for forest management, researchers suggest, because forests growing on shale bedrock store 25% more live, aboveground carbon and grow faster, taking up about 55% more carbon each year than forests growing on sandstone bedrock. The findings demonstrate that forests underlain by shale in this region provide more ecosystem services such as carbon uptake and biodiversity, explained researcher Margot Kaye, associate professor of forest ecology in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Also, shale forests make up a smaller portion of the landscape and should be high-priority candidates for management or conservation. “As forests grow and respond to warming, shifts in precipitation and invasive species, managers will benefit from incorporating lithological influences and considerations on forest composition and productivity,” she said. “For example, conserving forests growing on shale with higher species diversity will likely lead to forests that are resilient to stressors and can grow more vigorously…”

New York City, WCBS-TV, June 10, 2020: Long Island’s Smithtown Turning Into ‘Stumptown,’ Due To Companies Dumping Trees Into The Street

Residents in one Long Island town are sprucing up their yards, but in the process are making life extremely difficult for municipal workers. Now, local government is trying to put a stop to it, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday. It’s an obstacle course for Brandon and Cooper Gribbin of Smithtown. “I’m lucky enough and my wife to be able to work from home, so it gave us more time to tend to the yard, do some different projects,” father Matt Gribbin said. The Gribbins will use their lumber for firewood, and the mulch for their gardens. All of it is stored on their lawn. But around the corner and down nearly every block here, it’s a different story.Families staying home due to COVID-19 are cutting trees and clearing heavy branches with abandon, or hiring tree-trimming companies, many of which are simply hauling the stumps into the street and leaving them for inundated town workers. Proper disposal costs can run hundreds to thousands of dollars. “They are actually indicating to the resident that they can save them money by throwing it out in the road instead of removing it. And, again, that is a code violation in Smithtown,” town Supervisor Edward Wehrheim said. McLogan attempted to speak to one family, but they did not want to explain the nearly 100-foot long street-side pile of logs cleared from their yard, that neighborhood children “scooter” by. “The taxpayer should not have to pay for that,” one resident said. “Nobody likes to pay taxes for somebody else’s mess,” another added. Smithtown is one of a few Long Island municipalities to offer leaves and brush curbside pickup. Already, that volume has increased 65% during the pandemic. Now, adding tree removal is turning out to be too overwhelming…

Mashable, June 10, 2020: Don’t know how to tell trees apart? There’s an app for that

“Do you think Frank recognizes us?” my 10-year-old asked one afternoon as we peered over the railing of a bridge along the greenway in our neighborhood. Frank, naturally, is the copperhead snake who lives around the stream bed below the bridge. From a very safe distance, we check in on him (or her) during our regular bike rides. When we first spotted Frank’s tan skin and reddish hourglass markings, we thought it might be a copperhead. But how to make sure? If you’ve ever tried to take a picture of a plant or animal and Google it to find out what it is, you’ll know how frustrating and unhelpful the experience can be, especially for a non-scientist. Instead, to confirm our neighborhood snake species, we submitted a photo to the iNaturalist app – a wildlife observation tool that uses image recognition technology in conjunction with a strong community of users to identify plants and animals in pictures that users share. The photos submitted to iNaturalist fuel citizen science projects around the world. Tapping into that collective bank of expertise, in addition to the app’s powerful algorithms, confirmed that our local serpent was indeed a copperhead. It was one gratifying observation of many. During these past months of COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns when our home became our focus, logging observations into iNaturalist has become a go-to activity for my daughter and me. If you’re trying help your kids learn to enjoy nature, some subtle gamification can go a long way…

London, UK, The Sun, June 10, 2020: Supermodel ‘In Court Probe’: Claudia Schiffer ‘faces legal action in Majorca as neighbour claims gardener trespassed on property to cut down trees’

Model Claudia Schiffer is at the centre of an extraordinary court probe over claims she and her film producer husband had two pines trees belonging to a multi-millionaire neighbour chopped down because they were blocking their view. Willi Weber, ex manager of legendary F1 racing driver Michael Schumacher, is reportedly suing the German beauty and British husband Matthew Vaughn after discovering the trees had been removed. He says a specialist hired by the couple trespassed on his land after ignoring a warning to leave the trees alone and took them away with him after using a chainsaw to chop them down, according to local reports. Respected island daily Diario de Mallorca said he and the couple’s staff gardener have already been quizzed by a judge heading an ongoing investigation and Claudia and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels producer Vaughn could now end up in front of a judge. Mr Weber, said to have lodged his complaint after the trees disappeared from his garden next to Ms Schiffer’s mansion in Camp de Mar in July last year, told a German newspaper earlier this year he had received an apology from her husband. Insisting the 30ft pines were “cut off behind his bedroom”, he claimed: “Matthew Vaughn apologised to me and said what had happened was an accident and they thought the trees were on their plot.” Mr Weber also told Bild am Sonntag he planned to build a high wall between his home and his neighbour’s and bill them for the cost after what happened, warning: “Otherwise I will plant so many trees that they can only smell the sea…”

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Chronicle-Herald, June 9, 2020: Amherst moves to protect remaining elm trees

There was a time when Amherst was home to numerous stately elm trees. Thanks to Dutch Elm Disease, all but a few are gone. One of those remaining trees was innoculated against the disease earlier this week. The tree, located in Christie Park on Albion Street, was injected with Dutch Trig, an organic vaccine, by arborist Rory Fraser of the Maritime Elm Protection Initiative Pilot Project, a Sackville, N.B.-based organization that is working to protect and save elm trees. The vaccine consists of spores from a strain of Verticillium fungus that activates the elm’s natural defence mechanisms against the disease that is spread by beetles that feed under the bark. It was injected through the bark near the base of the tree. Because the tree adds rings each year, the inoculation will become an annual springtime event. “This project will help to protect one of our last healthy, publicly owned elm trees,” Amherst’s horticulturalist Chelsea Baird said. Baird noted many of the town’s stately elms have been lost to Dutch Elm Disease, especially on Victoria Street East and the surrounding areas where the streetscape has been drastically altered as a result of the disease killing dozens of elm trees since it arrived in town in the 1980s. “Unfortunately, we cannot turn back time and save all the elms that were lost in the past due to Dutch Elm Disease,” she said. “What we can do is work towards being more proactive and be better at protecting our urban forest through initiatives like this one…

Oswego, New York, Oswego County Today, June 9, 2020: Tree Trimming Discussed During Oswego Common Council Meeting

Resident disapproval over tree trimming in Oswego was discussed at last night’s Common Council meeting, Monday, June 8. Speaking on behalf of area constituents, Third Ward Councilor Kevin Hill led the discussion, noting residents’ dissatisfaction with tree trimming done along their properties. Contractors, hired by National Grid, are trimming trees around electrical wires in the City of Oswego for safety reasons. This process is done on a five-year rotation. Area constituents took photos to show the damage done by the contractors, revealing trees in unfavorable conditions. “At first glance, these trees appear to be severely damaged [and] heavily pruned in a way I can’t recall ever seeing anytime in the past,” Hill said. Hill spoke with National Grid Forestry Supervisor Scott Saladin, who said they used the same forestry specifications in all of their service areas. Hill argued during last night’s meeting that using the same standards along a highway is not appropriate in a city or suburban neighborhood. “It seems that they can take a lot more care when they’re doing things like trimming in neighborhoods, especially when it’s in historic neighborhoods with land-marked trees [and] trees that are decades old,” Hill said…

Franklin, Indiana, Daily Journal, June 10, 2020: Leaning tree’s future in limbo: Arborists give conflicting reports about historic tree’s condition

Generations of Johnson County residents have driven under the locally famous leaning tree, wondering how it doesn’t topple over, amazed that it has stood that way for so long. The leaning tree, which has stood at a 45-degree angle for roughly 200 years, is about 3 miles south of Franklin in the 3500 block of Airport Road. The historic sycamore tree has been leaning for as long as anyone in Johnson County can remember. Now, the Johnson County Board of Commissioners and Johnson County Highway Department are considering whether it needs to be removed due to safety concerns. The commissioners postponed making a decision about the tree at its meeting Monday after Luke Mastin, county highway director, told the board the report by a master arborist hired by the county is not yet finalized. The county closed Airport Road last week based on a preliminary report that said the tree had reached a state of decay in which it could fall at any time, Mastin said. Travelers, usually only those who live in the area or commute between Franklin and Camp Atterbury in southern Johnson County, drive or ride directly under the tree. The investigation began after a resident complained nearly two weeks ago that the tree looks to have rotted significantly. The road will remain closed until it is more clear how bad of shape it is in, he said…

Denver, Colorado, KDVR-TV, June 9, 2020: Local company helps homeowner remove large, unstable tree

This week’s storms are leaving many dangerously unstable trees leaning over homes, but at a cost of $600 or more, many homeowners aren’t able to pay for the immediate removal of them. Beverly Hicks contacted the Problem Solvers out of fear a tree on her neighbor’s property would collapse on the room where her granddaughter sleeps. “I don’t want to get a call that the tree fell on my house and took her life,” she said. The Problem Solvers reached out to Hector Deluna of United Tree Service for assistance. Deluna’s trucks rolled up within an hour, much to Hicks’ surprise. Deluna introduced himself, quickly assessed the tree as being extremely dangerous and told Hicks, “we will take care of that problem so you can sleep safely for not a dime. You don’t pay!” Overcome with emotion, Hicks thanked Deluna. “He has no clue, I’m so thankful!” she said. Deluna brought his son and partner Jesus to the location, who tells FOX31 he is proud of his father’s commitment to giving back to the community…

Greenbiz, June 8, 2020: In California, a push grows to turn dead trees into biomass energy

Jonathan Kusel owns three pickups and a 45-foot truck for hauling woodchip bins. He operates a woodchip yard and a 35-kilowatt biomass plant that burns dead trees, and he runs a crew marking trees for loggers working in national forests. Those are a lot of blue-collar credentials for a University of California, Berkeley Ph.D sociologist known for his documentation of how the decline of the timber industry affects rural communities. What drove Kusel into a side business — logging small and dead trees and burning them in biomass boilers — is fear of fire. In 2007, the 65,000-acre Moonlight Fire blew flaming embers onto his lawn near Taylorsville, California as he readied his family to evacuate. In September, the Walker Fire scorched 54,614 acres just up the valley from the offices of the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, the nonprofit research organization Kusel founded in 1993. In that 12-year span, wildfires burned 690 square miles in the northern Sierra Nevada. Drought, a warming climate and bark-beetle infestations also have killed 147 million California trees since 2013, most of them along the Sierra spine running south from Kusel’s home base past Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park to Tehachapi Pass, 75 miles north of Los Angeles. Scientists say these trees are poised to burn in California’s next round of megafires, threatening the range with blazes so intense they will leave some places unable to establish new forests…

Lansing, Michigan, Michigan Dept. of Agriculture & Rural Development, June 8, 2020: Protect trees and forests from invasive species; don’t move firewood

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reminding the public about the risk of accidentally spreading invasive species while moving firewood. New infestations of invasive pests or diseases can be devastating and pose a serious threat to Michigan’s agriculture, forests and the environment. Harmful invasive species, some of which are invisible to the naked eye, can hide in or on firewood. While most cannot move far on their own, these pests and diseases can be transported undetected on travelers’ firewood, starting new infestations in locations hundreds of miles away. These invasive species threaten native tree species without natural defenses against these pests and diseases. Infestations also can destroy forests, lower property values and cost huge sums of money to control. “It is nearly impossible to detect diseases – like thousand cankers disease, which affects walnut trees, or oak wilt in oak trees – just by looking at the wood,” said Mike Philip, director of MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division. “Never assume wood appearing uninfested is safe to move.” Jason Fleming, chief of resource protection and promotion in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division, said awareness of these tree pests and diseases and a commitment to not move firewood are especially important at Michigan’s state parks, where many trees and forested areas have been devastated. “As camping resumes this year, we urge all campers to look to purchase firewood at the state park campgrounds, rather than bring wood with you,” Fleming said. “Typically, the firewood sold at state parks is affordable, locally sourced or heat-treated to eliminate pests and diseases…”

Wahpeton, North Dakota, Daily News, June 8, 2020: Phenology – It’s all about timing

What’s the first tree to break bud in the spring? I used to think that it was American elm, with its small flowers, barely tinged with a hint of red. This year, though, I observed more locations and new tree species. Red elderberry and the gooseberries had leaves growing before other species. A few days later and the flowers began showing up. Willows and quaking aspens were first, a few days before American elm. The technical term for timing in nature is “phenology.” Two things stand out about phenology. First, it’s relative. Some species break bud before others, consistently from one year to the next. Second, variability still occurs each year: When exactly will the cherry blossoms bloom? When should sugar maple trees be tapped to collect the sap to make maple syrup? In some years, we have an early spring, while in other years, it’s delayed…

Davenport, Iowa, Quad City Times, June 7, 2020: Urban trees don’t live as long as they should

Many urban trees live only about 20% of their normal life expectancy because of external issues such as pests and disease, but most stress can be linked back to improper care and installation, Kelly Allsup, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, said. A recent United States Department of Agriculture paper analyzing tree life expectancy in urban areas found the typical street tree lived between 19 and 28 years. To compare, the ideal life span of a white oak is 600 years, and the average life span of a red maple can be between 75 to 150 years in Midwest wilds. Urban trees must withstand pollution, poor soils, limited legroom for roots, and pressure from insects and disease. What’s worse, most are planted incorrectly, and their health and cultural requirements – sunshine, water, soil, and climate – are not monitored, Allsup said. Some basic knowledge of tree stresses can help your urban tree live longer…

Green Bay, Wisconsin, WBAY-TV, June 4, 2020: Stockbridge landmark burning with no way to put out the flames

Could the end be near for a natural treasure, most likely hundreds of years old, in the Town of Stockbridge in Calumet County? That’s the question being asked following Tuesday night’s storms when that landmark was damaged. The towering cottonwood tree in Lakeside Cemetery in Stockbridge is a local landmark. “A lot of people come down here. A lot of people know of the big tree at the cemetery,” says Stockbridge Fire Chief Mike Funk. And now they’re coming to see what happened to the tree during Tuesday night’s storms. According to Chief Funk, “A local resident had stopped at the fire station and informed us that that tree down at the Lakeside Cemetery was on fire.” The branches and trunk tell the story of the lightning bolt that made its way through the tree Tuesday night, causing it to burn. “They did their best to try and put the fire out,” says Chief Funk, adding, “Unfortunately, because of the lightning strike, the fire had started burning up already into the tree.” Fire made the tree glow as it burned on the inside of the trunk and up its branches. The fire chief says the cottonwood is very hollow, more than he could have imagined, and despite putting a thousand gallons of water on it and in it, the flames couldn’t all be put out…

Akron, Ohio, MSN, June 7, 2020: Akron debates whether to trim tree nuisance policy

Akron is looking to prune an overgrown tree nuisance policy. With unanimous approval of City Council, Mayor Dan Horrigan updated the city’s “trees and shrubs” law in 2016 with the “objective of establishing more efficient regulations to promote a healthy and safe tree population.” The rule change, meant to help with overall tree health, effectively turned the city’s arborist, previously only concerned with public property, into a referee for all disputes of tree roots and dead-but-still-standing trees that drop leaves, limbs and fruit onto neighboring lawns and cars. The amended law unleashed a floodgate on nuisance complaints, expanding the arborist’s jurisdiction (and what people can complain about) from public property to all property, including trees and roots that straddle residential backyards and side lots. Neighborly grievances previously dismissed as private matters were now taken up by the city, per the new rules. “The change to the definition of what is and what is not a nuisance tree essentially made it so that anyone could make a complaint about any tree in the city, that it was a nuisance in some way shape or form,” James Hardy, director of Akron’s Department of Integrated Development, told City Council last week…

Davenport, Iowa, Quad City Times, June 7, 2020: Chestnut, elm, ash — trees we have lost

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) has plagued native ash trees in Illinois and Iowa since 2006 and 2010, respectively. This pest was first introduced in 2002 around the Detroit area and rapidly spread across Michigan and Indiana to infect most of Iowa and Illinois today. “Sadly, the emerald ash borer will eventually wipe out our native ash species as we know them, leaving a major void in our urban forests and natural areas since ash is currently so prevalent,” Ryan Pankau, a horticulture educator with University of Illinois Extension, said. “The age-old phrase ‘history repeats itself’ certainly holds true with exotic pests and diseases in North America.” Two such past incidences have caused the virtual elimination of American elm and American chestnut trees across our continent. The impact of chestnut blight was extensive. The American chestnut’s native range spans more than 20 states in the eastern U.S., from Maine to Georgia, and accounted for about 50% of the eastern deciduous forest…

Redding, California, Record-Searchlight, June 7, 2020: This may be why your citrus tree drops immature fruit

Q: My mandarin tree is dropping its tiny green fruits. Can you tell me why this is happening? The amount that is falling seems to be a lot more than normal.
A: It’s normal for all types of citrus trees to drop some immature fruit at this time of year. This self-thinning is nature’s way of making sure the tree does not become too overburdened with fruit. However, if your tree is dropping a lot of the immature fruit then it could be for one of several reasons. I have listed a few of the most common ones below. Changes in weather can stress your citrus tree and cause fruit to drop. We have experienced some extremes in the weather the past couple of weeks, with an almost 50-degree difference in temperatures from one day to the next. I’m not sure what variety of Mandarin you have, but the Satsuma Mandarins — while cold tolerant — are very sensitive to the heat and are more likely to drop immature fruit than other varieties when temperatures spike in May and June…

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, June 4, 2020: Tree Census and a Wealth of Public Data

As our country sets out on the monumental task of conducting the U.S. census, the USDA Forest Service is conducting a census of its own – the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA). Researchers conducting the FIA, also known as “America’s tree census,” measure trees, collect data and catalogue sample areas in research plots all over the U.S. According to FIA, currently, there are nearly 300 billion trees in the United States. But the program does more than just count trees. There are also several other measurements being gathered; a 580-page manual worth of measurements to be exact. “The data tells a story,” said Greg Reams, national program lead with the Forest Inventory and Analysis team. “Categories of data we collect include land use change into and out of forest land, soils work, carbon sequestration, and tracking wood that is on the ground, information which is critical for fire modelers to calculate wildfire risk ratings.” After locating the plot using aerial imagery, crews often hike for miles through difficult terrain just to get to the site. Once there, crew members measure the trees and catalogue damage from invasive species, fire and weather events. Crew members also measure dead trees, downed material and understory vegetation, which can act as wildlife habitat as well as fuel for wildfire…

Houston, Texas, KHOU-TV, June 4, 2020: Texas tree service worker accused of assaulting black man, using racial slur

DeVonta Brown didn’t think a simple trip to grab a cup of coffee before work would end in his assault. He was going through the drive-thru of a McDonald’s in McKinney on Monday when the driver of a truck drove the wrong way and cut him off. Brown walked up to the truck with his cell phone recording the exchange. The man inside could be heard saying the N-word multiple times.
“You could see it in his eyes. You could see the hate in his eyes,” Brown said. That driver, identified as Christopher Taylor, was later arrested on an assault charge, according to the McKinney Police Department. Taylor is accused of headbutting Brown and spitting on him, according to Brown. The video of the interaction was shared thousands of times on social media. Brown said what he experienced is nothing new to him. But, he said, it was the most blatant act of racism he has experienced. “Just trying to make it home to my wife is a challenge every day. [Enough] is enough,” Brown said. WFAA made several attempts to reach Taylor through Chris Taylor Tree Service by phone and text message but did not receive a response…

LeGrand, Oregon, Observer, June 4, 2020: Forest Service considers ending ban on logging larger trees

A rule change under review by the U.S. Forest Service could end a long-standing provision that prevents the harvest of trees greater than 21 inches in diameter on six national forests in Eastern Oregon and Washington. The limitation on harvesting trees of that size was put in place 25 years ago under a land-management plan amendment known as the Eastside Screens. At the time the Eastside Screens were established as a suite of temporary land management provisions designed to protect water resources and wildlife habitats. Land managers needed to take into account, or screen, the provisions before moving forward with management activities such as timber harvests. What’s under consideration is revising just one provision of the Eastside Screens — the limit on cutting trees larger than 21 inches in diameter, also known as the 21-inch rule. The 21-inch rule has come under scrutiny by the Forest Service because of overcrowded stands of trees that are now deemed a wildfire hazard. The proposal to remove the rule would give managers more flexibility when designing projects, especially landscape forest restoration treatments, said Stephen Baker, regional media officer for Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest region…

Boston, Massachusetts, WBUR Radio, June 4, 2020: Dead And Dying Trees Have More Methane In Their Soil, Study Finds

Of all the troubled trees in Chelsea, there’s one that’s taken root in Roseann Bongiovanni’s mind. “If I remember correctly, it was on Bellingham Hill,” Bongiovanni says. “They would plant this street tree, care for it, the city would go and water it, and then maybe a year later they would see that it died.” This happened over and over, says Bongiovanni, the executive director of GreenRoots, an environmental justice non-profit in Chelsea. “This tree would die no mater what the city did,” she recalls. “So after seeing a tree die in the same place multiple times, we started to think, ‘OK, what’s going on here?'” Bongiovanni suspected that gas leaks were playing a role, not just with that tree, but with many dead and dying trees across the city. And trees matter in Chelsea, a densely populated city where urban heat effects and air pollution can compromise the health of residents. “We’re a community that believes heavily in having more street trees,” Bongiovanni says. “There are so many different reasons why street trees are really important.” Street trees cool sidewalks, absorb pollution, and offset greenhouse gas emissions. “I can tell you what it feels like to walk down a tree-lined street in the summer and then walk down a street that had no trees,” says Madeleine Scammell, a Chelsea resident and professor of environmental health at Boston University School of Public Health. “That’s the case here in Chelsea. A lot of the streets where there are just no trees, it is so much hotter. “Scammell says that many people have long suspected that natural gas leaks harm trees, but there’s been little proof…

Yale Environment 360, June 3, 2020: How Small Family Forests Can Help Meet the Climate Challenge

Tim Leiby had wrapped up a fun but fruitless early-morning turkey hunt and was enjoying an old John Wayne flick when I arrived at Willow Lodge near Blain, Pennsylvania. A few flurries drifted down on this unseasonably cold May morning. After a quick scan of antlers mounted on virtually every wall of the cozy hunting lodge, we headed out for a socially distanced stroll through what Leiby calls “our little piece of heaven.” This 95-acre woods in south-central Pennsylvania’s ridge-and-valley country is a hunting and hiking refuge co-owned by eight families. As much as he loves it, Leiby knows it could be even better. The forest is still recovering from heavy logging in the 1980s, and it’s full of invasive or unwanted plants — he points out striped maple, princess tree, and barberry — that do little for wildlife and keep desired hardwoods like oak and hickory from regenerating. “Barberry is a terrible invasive around here,” Leiby says. “It’s choking out the ground cover.” Small family-owned forests like this one make up 38 percent of U.S. forests — together more than 1.5 times the area of Texas, and more than any other ownership type. While most owners want to do right by their land, they rarely have access to the needed expertise or resources. That, however, may be changing. In April, the environmental nonprofits The Nature Conservancy (TNC), American Forest Foundation (AFF), and Vermont Land Trust announced two new programs, powered by a $10-million rocket boost from the tech giant Amazon, to funnel funds from carbon emitters to small landowners like Leiby eager to grow larger, healthier forests…

Counterpunch, June 4, 2020: The Problem With Chainsaw Medicine: the Forest Service’s Move to Cut Oregon’s Big Trees

The Forest Service is proposing to remove the prohibition against logging trees larger than 21 inches that grow in national forests on the eastside of the Cascades in Oregon. The probation was put into place when ecological studies demonstrated the critical importance of large-diameter old-growth trees to overall forest ecosystem function. The Forest Service argues that it needs the flexibility to cut larger fir and other tree species competing with ponderosa pine to “restore” forest health. The agency suggests thinning the forests will enhance the resilience of the forest against the “ravages” of wildfire, bark beetles, and other sources of tree mortality. The so-called need for “restoration” to what ails the forest by chainsaws medicine reflects the agency’s Industrial Forestry Paradigm. By happy coincidence, such “restoration” happens to provide wood fiber to the timber industry, and typically at a loss to taxpayers. One might assume that green and fast-growing trees are more desirable than dead or slow-growing trees. What the agency doesn’t acknowledge due to its inherent Industrial Forestry bias is that healthy forest ecosystems require significant sources of tree mortality. The healthy forest that the Forest Service promotes is a degraded forest ecosystem…

Windsor, Ontario, Star, June 3, 2020: Thieves lift newly planted trees from senior’s yard

In a brazen act of thievery, four freshly planted trees, lovingly planted by her grandson a few weeks before, were dug up in the wee hours of the night from the front yard of a Windsor grandmother. Firefighter Adam Kunder wanted to do something nice for his 89-year-old grandma Shirley Horwitz for both Mother’s Day and her recent birthday. Horwitz has lived in her downtown Victoria Avenue home for approximately 50 years and the landscaping in her front yard had not been touched for about 30 years. So Kunder, who also owns a landscaping company, decided to redesign and re-plant the gardens in early May.“We tore everything out, I designed it and we installed all new plants, new stone,” Kunder said. “My grandma was so stoked about it.” But sometime overnight Saturday, thieves made off with two blue spruce globe standards and two limelight hydrangea standards, worth approximately $1,000. “I was actually at work, I was at the fire hall and my mom gave me a call and basically said that my grandmother came outside and looked to the left and looked to the right and a bunch of the trees were dug up,” Kunder said. “Basically now there’s just four big holes across her front lawn and landscaping bed…”

Lansdale, Pennsylvania, Reporter, June 3, 2020: From the Ground Up: Trees are for all ages: Plant them everywhere

For his birthday last month, all my friend Elliot wanted was an apricot tree. Yep, just a tree, nothing else. That’s not really too remarkable, for someone to ask for one single, big, lasting thing. For myself, as I get “on in years” I find that there’s little that I want in terms of tangible presents. I’m at an age where health and financial security, along with family and friends, feel like the best gifts. With those in place, I don’t feel the need for much more—though I’ll never say no to something for the yard or garden! In Elliot’s case, though, it’s different. Because Elliot is nine years old. And I don’t know any other child who would ask for a fruit tree — and nothing else — for a birthday present. Happily, the family had already selected the tree just before the stay-at-home order was announced. The tree arrived about a month before the actual birthday. Elliot helped his dad dig a good, welcoming hole, install the 8-foot tree, tamp down the earth, lay a circle of stones, and then a circle of wire fencing to keep out the deer. The day I went to visit, the tree looked healthy and happy, and as if it had been growing there for a while. End of story? Not quite. In so many ways, this little boy has typical nine-year-old passions; he loves Legos and dragons, Minecraft and Star Wars. But there’s a thoughtful, wise, compassionate part of him, too; a part that gets expressed not only in the wish for an apricot tree, but also in the vision of starting his own non-profit organization to encourage people to plant more trees. The name he’s come up with describes the concept: “Plant Trees Everywhere…”

New Orleans, Louisiana, Times Picayune, June 2, 2020: Get trees, yard, home ready to weather the winds and rain of storm season 2020: Dan Gill

Each year, I approach hurricane season with a touch of dread — something that will stay with me until the end of November when the season is over. Predictions that hurricane activity will be above average this season don’t help a bit. Being well-prepared is the best tonic for reducing dread. From the perspective of landscape preparation, when hurricane season arrives trees are always on my mind. You can’t deny the benefits that trees bring to New Orleans. They add beauty, increase property values, benefit us psychologically, clean the air, provide wildlife habitat and shade our homes and outdoor living areas in the summer. Our city would be a different and much less agreeable place without them. When hurricanes threaten, however, the less desirable aspects of trees around our homes must be considered. Trees blowing over in the high winds of hurricanes can be extremely destructive. Now is the time to walk around your yard and look over your shade trees to assess their condition. Pay special attention to older, larger trees that are close enough to your house to hit it should they fall. Of course, any trees that are dead or in very poor condition should be removed as soon as possible. Do not delay dealing with this. Dead or dying trees pose a major hazard during the high winds of hurricanes. Even trees with relatively healthy-looking canopies can have issues. Look for trees that show large cavities or significant decay in their trunks. Sometimes the rot is not obvious…

Springfield, Missouri, News-Leader, June 2, 2020: Why Missouri State removed 24 mature trees along Grand Street

Twenty-four large, mature trees along Grand Street near National Avenue that provided white blooms each year are gone. Missouri State University, which removed the trees from the parking lot fence row on Grand — between National and Dollison Avenue — says it was acting in the best interest of the campus and surrounding neighborhoods. “We were really happy to get them out,” said Jason Rhea, MSU’s assistant director of facility management grounds services. Rhea said the Callery pear trees were likely planted after the underpass that connects that parking lots and the south side of campus was built in the 1980s. At the time, the ornamental tree popular in urban landscapes was thought to be sterile. A variant of the Bradford pear, the Callery pear trees hybridized with other pear species, which resulted in a fast-growing tree now considered invasive along fence lines and the forests in Missouri. “They are becoming a real issue,” he said. “They are really quick growing and they are brittle.” The Springfield campus of MSU has 2,035 trees representing 115 species and employs three certified arborists. They are involved in deciding what to plant and where…

United Press International, June 2, 2020: Study: The world lost 30 million acres of tree cover in 2019

The world lost tree cover the size of a soccer field every six seconds in 2019, totaling nearly 30 million acres, with a third of that loss coming from the mature rainforest, a new study released Tuesday said. The mature rainforest is needed for biodiversity and carbon storage, the Global Forest Watch said. Last year’s forest loss was 2.8 percent higher than in 2018, the study said.”At least 1.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions are associated with 2019 primary forest loss, equivalent to the annual emissions of 400 million cars,” Global Forest Watch said in a statement. “Though the rate of primary forest loss was lower in 2019 than record years of 2016 and 2017, it was still the third-highest since the turn of the century.” The study said Brazil accounted for more than one-third of the humid tropical primary forest loss globally. It said the loss in 2019 was the third highest in the past 13 years. “Naturally occurring fires in the Brazilian Amazon and other tropical rainforests are very rare,” the report said. “Often, fires signal previous deforestation. Farmers and ranchers commonly set fire to recently deforested land to clear branches and stumps. Fire also plays a role in agricultural cycles, so land that had been cleared of forest in years past may be burned again to prepare for re-planting or to clear weeds from pastures…”

Panama City, Florida, WJHG-TV, June 2, 2020: Caught on Camera: people cutting down trees in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is said to be one of the hidden gems of Walton County. Bill Potter is a neighbor, who not only lives right next to the park but is also a regular volunteer. Potter said he had a tense interaction with the people cutting down the trees this weekend. “Frankly, I was flabbergasted,” said Potter. Potter received a call from his neighbor Saturday afternoon, about something strange happening in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Walton County. “I thought he was going to call the ranger but he charged on down there.” When Potter got there, he says he saw his neighbors cutting down trees in the state park. “I have a feeling you don’t work for topsail,” said Potter in the video. Potter says he tried to keep them around until law enforcement arrived… But they got away. His neighbor, Garret Barry posted the video on Facebook, hoping someone would recognize them. According to Jeff Talbert, who is familiar with topsail hill, it is illegal to tamper with wildlife or nature in a state park…

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Thomson Reuters, June 2, 2020: No let-up in global rainforest loss as coronavirus brings new danger

Tropical rainforests disappeared at a rate of one football pitch every six seconds last year, researchers said on Tuesday, urging countries to include forest protection in post-pandemic plans. The loss in 2019 of 3.8 million hectares (9.3 million acres) of tropical primary forest – which means intact areas of old-growth trees – was the third biggest decline since the turn of the century, according to data from Global Forest Watch (GFW). “Primary forests are the areas we are the most concerned about – they have the biggest implications for carbon and biodiversity,” said Mikaela Weisse, a project manager at the GFW forest monitoring service, run by the World Resources Institute. “The fact that we are losing them so rapidly is really concerning,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Loss of primary forest, which hit a record high in 2016 and 2017, was 2.8% higher in 2019 than the year before. Agricultural expansion, wildfires, logging, mining and population growth all contribute to deforestation, according to GFW researchers. Cutting down forests has major implications for global goals to curb climate change, as trees absorb about a third of the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions produced worldwide…

Phoenix, Arizona, KNXV-TV, June 1, 2020: FD: Palm tree trimmer dies after incident with wires in Phoenix backyard

A tree trimmer has died after an incident at a Phoenix home Monday morning. Phoenix fire officials say they received a tree rescue call near 28th Street and Campbell Avenue around 9 a.m., but that call turned into a body recovery. The trimmer is believed to have made contact with electrical lines, electrocuting himself while working on a backyard palm tree. Fire officials say the victim was not showing signs of life or responding when fire officials arrived. Power company workers headed to the scene to secure the electrical lines in order for crews to recover the man’s body…

Santa Barbara, California, Noozhawk, June 1, 2020: Save Tree-trimming For Months That End With Letter ‘R’

The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN) has seen a disturbing increase in the number of patients orphaned as a result of tree-trimming practices across Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. During spring and summer, wild animals are actively nesting. Many nesting animals, especially those that nest in tree cavities such as woodpeckers and squirrels, are in serious danger of losing their nests and their lives to tree trimming. The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN) recommends that tree-trimming be saved for months ending in the letter “R” to avoid nesting season. If trimming a tree is absolutely necessary, ask your arborist to learn whether they know the signs of active nesting, how to look for nests, and the legal consequences for knocking down or destroying nests…

London, UK, The Times, June 1, 2020: Millionaire Chris Kiley accused of felling protected trees

A millionaire businessman has been accused of cutting down protected trees at his seafront home and turning the grounds into a private racetrack. Chris Kiley, 66, who owns a chain of supermarkets, lives in a nature reserve in south Wales. Neighbours have lodged complaints about work and noise coming from the £2.5 million home overlooking Caswell Bay on the Gower peninsula, the first area in Britain to be designated an area of outstanding natural beauty. Residents claimed that trees were being cut down illegally on a protected site and that Mr Kiley and his friends were using the grounds as a “racing track” for off-road bikes…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, May 31, 2020: Commentary: We sorted the facts on Charleston tree-cutting and found real solutions

All over Charleston, citizens are suddenly being jolted by the sounds of chainsaws cutting the trees in front of their house. There are big, burly men with big trucks butchering the trees, and if homeowners challenge them, they often are rudely dismissed and told that Dominion Energy has an agreement with the city to allow the cutting. The outraged citizens then call their City Council member who says, yes, there is such an agreement and there’s nothing that can be done. This is exactly what happened to us — but we refused to accept that nothing could be done. We went to work and discovered a lot of “fake facts.” We researched the “real facts” and started StopDominion.com to develop and push for real solutions. In short: A lot can be done, and the city is the only entity that can do it. And it won’t happen unless citizens make it happen. Fake Fact No. 1: Dominion has convinced many people, including some city officials, that it is a simple choice: pretty trees or reliable electricity. Real Fact: This is a false choice and simply not true. Many cities all over the country have developed commonsense policies to have both…

University if California Agriculture & Natural Resources, May 31, 2020: Watch Out For Invasive Shot Hole Borers on Your Landscape Trees

Watch out for these insects! Invasive shot hole borers (ISHB) represent two related species of beetles (polyphagous and Kuroshio) in the genus Euwallacea. Both spread fusarium dieback, a disease that restricts the flow of water and nutrients in the tree, resulting in dead branches, dropped limbs, and even death. Over 60 species of native and non-native ornamental trees and avocados in Southern California are susceptible the ISHB/fusarium dieback complex.Examples of known hosts of the ISHB/fusarium dieback complex include: Box Elder (Acer negundo), Avocado (Persea americana), English Oak (Quercus robur), Valley Oak (Quercus lobata), California coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia), Big leaf maple (Acer macrophyhllum) silk tree (Albizia julibrissin) Liquidambar (Liquidambar styraciflua), Coral tree (Erythrina coralladendron), California sycamore (Platanus racemose), Blue Palo Verde (Cercidium floridum), Purple orchid tree (Bauhinia variegate), Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus); and many species of Acacia.The beetles are native to Southeast Asia and were likely introduced into California in shipped goods, wood products, or packaging. While tiny (about the size of a sesame seed), they are prolific, tunneling into host trees and living and reproducing in galleries while feasting on the disease-causing fungus they spread from tree to tree…

London, UK, Daily Mail, June 1, 2020: Don’t leaf me here, Mum! Mischievous boy, 4, gets stuck inside a TREE with only his head and arm sticking out and has to be rescued by a stranger during first family outing since lockdown

A cheeky little boy managed to get stuck inside a tree with only his head and arm sticking out a tiny hole at the top – before a kind-hearted ‘hero’ rescued him. Finley Ibrahim, four, was exploring the woods in Eastham Country Park, Merseyside, with two of his brothers when he slithered into a hole in a tree trunk and couldn’t get back out. His mum Lindsey Ibrahim was called over to the tree by Finley’s older brother Riley, seven, but her bad back meant she couldn’t pull her son out of the bizarre predicament he’d managed to get into. Since her husband Terry Ibrahim, 40, was working from home around 10 minutes drive away, Lindsey was forced to seek help from a man who was at the park with his family. After around 15 minutes of being jammed in the stump, Finley was pulled out of the top of the trunk by the dad who came over and climbed the tree ‘like spiderman’…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News, May 31, 2020: Bruce Kreitler: Trees take no prisoners in fight for resources

One thing you have to admire about trees, is that they are pretty upfront about their intentions. No beating around the bush for a tree. Once a tree sprouts out of the ground, it means to grow as tall as it can, gather as much of the available resources as it can, and look out for No. 1, with no regard whatsoever for any other plants. Frankly, as far as competing plants goes, and this includes other trees, the plant world is extremely competitive, and is all about who can kill whom first. When you are looking at an untended tree growing somewhere, what you are seeing is the survivor of an ongoing, never-ending, battle for supremacy. Growing plants look placid enough, but they are always struggling for their very survival, to out-compete their neighbors. Because of how the competition for, and sequestration of, resources works in the plant world, successful trees of any real size have two big effects on their environment. First, over time, a sizable tree is going to gather a lot of resources, in one spot. You and I may look at a tree and see a lot of wood and foliage, and be aware that there also exists a large root system to support it, but a lot of other things look at that same picture and see food, and survival, or propagation. The only thing between everything that would like to feed on what trees have gathered, and the tree, is whatever the tree can do to defend itself…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, May 28, 2020: 2nd tree this week drops limb at SF’s Washington Square Park

A ficus tree bordering Washington Square Park in San Francisco shed a roughly 12-foot-long limb Wednesday evening, the second tree in as many days to drop a branch near the North Beach park in as many days. No one was injured as a result of the 2-inch-diameter limb dropping off, but the event is jarring in light of the fallen branch that injured five people, including a young child, at the park on Tuesday. There were no major injuries reported as a result of that incident, though the child was taken to a hospital as a precaution, evaluated and released. The ficus that dropped the limb Wednesday was one of seven trees along Columbus Avenue that the Public Works Department had planned to cut down and replace last year. They were deemed to be too risky to leave standing. Public Works is responsible for San Francisco’s roughly 125,000 street trees. The Recreation and Park Department oversees the 131,000 trees dotting the city’s thousands of acres of parks — it was a park tree that dropped its limb Tuesday. Four years ago, a 100-pound limb fell on Emma Zhou’s head while she was watching her two children play in Washington Square Park, paralyzing her from the waist down. In 2018, the city agreed to pay $14.5 million to settle her legal claims…

US News and World Report, May 28, 2020: Regulators Approve PG&E Bankruptcy Plan Despite Safety Fears

California power regulators on Thursday unanimously approved Pacific Gas & Electric’s $58 billion plan for getting out of a bankruptcy caused by a series of deadly wildfires, despite ongoing worries about the utility’s ability to safely operate its crumbling electrical grid. The vote by the Public Utilities Commission came just a few hours after a federal judge ripped the company for continuing to engage in reckless behavior that he believes is endangering even more lives. U.S. District Judge William Alsup blasted PG&E for “flim flamming” him about its newfound commitment to safety in previous hearings. He also raised worries that state power regulators haven’t done enough to prevent “a recalcitrant criminal” from causing more death and destruction as the risk of wildfires rises with the summer temperatures. “If there ever was a corporation that deserved to go to prison, it is PG&E,” Alsup said. After enduring Alsup’s scorn, PG&E cleared a key hurdle to end its nearly year-and-half bankruptcy with the PUC’s approval of a complex plan resolving more than $50 billion in claimed losses after the company was blamed for igniting a series of catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018. The Northern California fires killed more than 100 people and destroyed more than 27,000 homes and other buildings…

Phys.org, May 28, 2020: Global environmental changes leading to shorter, younger trees

Ongoing environmental changes are transforming forests worldwide, resulting in shorter and younger trees with broad impacts on global ecosystems, scientists say. In a global study published in the May 29 issue of the journal Science, researchers led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that rising temperatures and carbon dioxide have been altering the world’s forests through increased stress and carbon dioxide fertilization and through increasing the frequency and severity of disturbances such as wildfire, drought, wind damage and other natural enemies. Combined with forest harvest, the Earth has witnessed a dramatic decrease in the age and stature of forests. “This trend is likely to continue with climate warming,” said Nate McDowell, a PNNL Earth scientist and the study’s lead author. “A future planet with fewer large, old forests will be very different than what we have grown accustomed to. Older forests often host much higher biodiversity than young forests and they store more carbon than young forests.” Carbon storage and rich biodiversity are both keys to mitigate climate change. The study concluded, “Pervasive shifts in forest dynamics in a changing world,” determined that forests have already been altered by humans and will mostly likely continue to be altered in the foreseeable future, resulting in a continued reduction of old-growth forests globally…

Sacramento, California, Bee, May 28, 2020: Contractor electrocuted while working on trees in Sacramento, fire officials say

A contractor for a landscaping company was electrocuted by a power line Thursday while working on trees in Sacramento’s Land Park neighborhood, according to fire authorities. Fire and utility crews responded around 10:45 a.m. to the 1300 block of Marian Way for reports of a tree fire, according to a tweet by the Sacramento Fire Department. There was no fire upon arrival, but a man, in approximately his mid 40s, was found in a tree about 50 feet off the ground with apparent injuries caused by a nearby power line, Fire Department spokesman Capt. Keith Wade said. The injuries appear to be caused by high-powered electricity, and the man was unresponsive, Wade said. Wade said the man was pronounced dead at the scene…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, May 27, 2020: Another tree limb injures people at SF’s Washington Square, raising questions about maintenance

The tree that shed a limb that injured five people at Washington Square Park Tuesday was a mature sycamore that had received a “good” bill of health following its last inspection in June 2017, officials with San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department said Wednesday. None of the five people sustained serious injuries, although one, a juvenile, was taken to the hospital as a precaution, evaluated and released. But the episode has raised the memory of another, tragic accident at Washington Square four years earlier, when Emma Zhou was paralyzed from the waist down after she was struck on the head by a 100-pound branch that cracked off a pine tree while she was watching her two young children in the park’s playground. Two years later, the city paid $14.5 million to settle legal claims with Zhou…

New York City, WNBC-TV, May 27, 2020: 50-Foot Tree Falls on 4 People in Riverside Park

A massive, 50-foot tree fell onto four people who were enjoying a warm Wednesday out by the Hudson, sending at least three of them to the hospital. Witnesses described seeing the tree in Riverside Park falling in slow-motion before making a thunderous noise when it made contact with the ground near 92nd Street around 6 p.m. “It sounded like a gunshot. It was very scary,” a witness told NBC New York. One woman who was sitting on a bench was pinned right in between two large branches but the tree missed her by inches, another witness said.”I spoke to her and I said, ‘this is the luckiest day of your life,'” said the witness. After paramedics arrived at the scene, they were seen putting at least two patients on stretchers before transporting them to St. Lukes Hospital. Another woman was able to walk as she was treated for her injuries. The extent of their injuries is unclear. What caused the tree to fall is also unknown. The unfortunate incident was reminiscent of a similar scene in Central Park that occurred three years ago. A 75-foot oak tree there fell on a woman who was with her three young children. Witnesses also rushed to the scene then to help her out…

Oakland, California, Eastbay Times, May 27, 2020: Lafayette grudgingly allows PG&E to cut down 141 trees

The Lafayette City Council reluctantly agreed to grant a permit for a PG&E plan to remove 141 trees along two well-traveled roads — because the city has no legal authority to regulate the utility’s project. During the Tuesday remote meeting, city officials — and residents who submitted email letters criticizing PG&E — pointed out several concerns about the plan to uproot trees, many of them oak trees, along St. Mary’s and Moraga roads. “It really comes down to PG&E,” Mayor Mike Anderson said. “It’s their responsibility, and their reputation and credibility on the line that requires them to do a good job of informing the public.” Pacific Gas & Electric will begin a gas pipeline project in the area June 1 with the road closures, and the electric lines and tree removal begins June 14 with a different crew. The projects will be going on from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays through Aug. 14. PG&E utility will host a community webinar on the pipeline and tree-removal projects from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday at https://primetime.bluejeans.com/a2m/live-event/adpsfgcv. PG&E said it needs to remove the trees, clear branches and trim vegetation because Lafayette is located in one of the East Bay’s high-risk wildfire zones. The utility is also combining the tree removal with a separate project to replace part of a gas pipeline along St. Mary’s Road to increase capacity. The utility was given a permit for that project earlier…

BBC, May 27, 2020: The tree that changed the world map

Unfurling in a carpet of green where the Andes and Amazon basin meet in south-western Peru, Manú National Park is one of the most biodiverse corners of the planet: a lush, 1.5-million hectare Unesco-inscribed nature reserve wrapped in mist, covered in a chaos of vines and largely untouched by humans. But if you hack your way through the rainforest’s dense jungle, cross its rushing rivers and avoid the jaguars and pumas, you may see one of the few remaining specimens of the endangered cinchona officinalis tree. To the untrained eye, the thin, 15m-tall tree may blend into the thicketed maze. But the flowering plant, which is native to the Andean foothills, has inspired many myths and shaped human history for centuries. “This may not be a well-known tree,” said Nataly Canales, who grew up in the Peruvian Amazonian region of Madre de Dios. “Yet, a compound extracted from this plant has saved millions of lives in human history.” Today, Canales is a biologist at the National Museum of Denmark who is tracing the genetic history of cinchona. As she explained, it was the bark of this rare tree that gave the world quinine, the world’s first anti-malarial drug. And while the discovery of quinine was welcomed by the world with both excitement and suspicion hundreds of years ago, in recent weeks, this tree’s medical derivatives have been at the centre of another heated global debate. Synthetic versions of quinine – such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine – have been touted and largely disputed as possible..

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, May 26, 2020: 2-Year-Old Hospitalized, 4 Others Injured After Tree Limb Falls In San Francisco’s Washington Square Park

San Francisco police and fire units responded Tuesday evening after a large tree limb fell in North Beach’s Washington Square Park, causing minor injuries to five people. San Francisco police confirmed that a large tree limb fell in the park and that branches from the limb struck a group of people. The good news was that the injuries appeared to be minor, police said. Police later said that one juvenile were transported to the hospital as a precautionary measures and four other people were treated and released at the scene for non-life threatening injuries. A section of the park was cordoned off by police tape where the limb came down. Emergency responders were seen with a stretcher at the scene. A witness who was shaken up by the incident said “it was a big explosion” that sent debris and splinters flying. “Everybody just ran over and picked up the tree branch and asked if there was anybody underneath,” the woman told KPIX 5…

Nashville, Tennessee, WKRN-TV, May 26, 2020: Antioch man accused of shooting at neighbors for being on his lawn

An Antioch man told his neighbors he was “going to kill them for being illegal,” then fired gunshots in their direction as they ran for cover, according to a police report. Metro officers responded Sunday evening to a report of gunshots fired at a duplex on Richards Road off Una Antioch Pike. An arrest affidavit states Felix Hernandez, who had been staying at the duplex, returned home to find his neighbors standing in the grass. The paperwork alleges the 40-year-old yelled at the neighbors to get off the lawn, then walked away and returned a short time later with a gun pointed at them. After stating he was going to kill them, police said Hernandez fired two gunshots. While the neighbors were not hit, officers revealed they were injured while running for cover. Both victims were transported to TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center for treatment of undisclosed injuries. Hernandez was arrested and booked into the Metro jail Tuesday morning on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon…

Cleveland, Ohio, WOIO-TV, May 26, 2020: ODOT addresses perennial problem of dead trees along the Shoreway in Cleveland

Crews are once again removing dead trees and planting new trees along the Shoreway in Cleveland. 19 News has been reporting on the story extensively, dating back to 2017, when the trees were first planted as part of the Lakefront West project, transitioning the Shoreway into a Boulevard. In 2018, one year after the initial planting, many of the trees died. One year later, in 2019, the new trees were also dead. “In mid-May work started in the median to remove dead trees, improve tree planting conditions, plant 51 condition-tolerant trees, plant 100 trees outside of the median, and ornamental grasses that are more suitable for the environmental conditions present,” said ODOT spokesperson Amanda McFarland. Davey Tree has been hired as a consultant to oversee the planting of the trees. Soil and root samples were taken to better understand why the trees weren’t growing. “Conditions in certain areas along the Shoreway weren’t conducive to trees and landscaping,” said MacFarland…

Miami, Florida, Herald, May 26, 2020: Cherry trees slammed by virus in Oregon, Washington this year. Is the harvest ruined?

If you stop at a fruit stand in Washington or Oregon this year, you might notice fewer cherries than normal, and the ones you do find may not be as sweet. Why? A virus that has commonly plagued cherry harvests in California and Canada is wreaking havoc on the Northwest’s cherry trees, forcing growers to chop down infected trees, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. “Little cherry disease” hasn’t reared its ugly head in Washington since the 1950s, when acres of trees were cleared out in orchards around the state, according to Washington State University. The virus makes cherries smaller and more bitter because it reduces the sugar content of the fruit, WSU says. Since the disease can spread like wildfire from tree to tree in an orchard, trees that become infected with the disease have to be chopped down, according to the Associated Press. Symptoms vary between the types of cherry trees; Lambert and Bing, which are highly susceptible to the virus, look smaller with lighter colors, while Van and Sam might reach normal size, but the flavor is still affected, WSU says. “They’re small and pale, but they’re either bland or bitter,” Tianna DuPoint of WSU Extension in Wenatchee, Washington, told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “So they won’t hurt you if you eat them, but they’re not marketable…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, May 23, 2020: Editorial: To end controversial Charleston tree trimming, get at the problem’s root

There are few news tips as frequent, as emotional and, sadly, as predictable as a neighborhood upset over work to trim trees from power lines. So it’s hardly surprising that after Dominion Energy’s contractors geared up to work south of Broad Street in downtown Charleston, there was a fresh backlash from residents. Befitting the large, influential neighborhood, residents formed a group called “Stop Dominion” and asked City Hall to rewrite its recent agreement with Dominion to minimize trimming and ensure it’s done in a more sensitive way. Protecting our trees and the beauty they add to the Lowcountry is important. But those who want to push back at the tree trimming status quo should aim higher than the city’s oversight of tree trimming. They should set their sights on the arm of state government that regulates utilities as well as on the city and utility officials who ultimately work together to decide how many power lines are placed underground. Simply put, city leaders feel there are limits on how far they can go in regulating the cutting. Yes, the city did strike an agreement with Dominion in which the city receives notice of tree trimming work on grand trees, but that work still is subject to trimming standards the utility feels it needs to minimize the chance its lines will be damaged by a downed tree limb during a major storm. “If we were to impose standards, they (Dominion officials) would challenge,” Charleston attorney Chip McQueeney says. “Ultimately, what a judge is going to hear is tree protection versus electricity protection, and we’re going to lose that every time…”

Phys.org, May 25, 2020, Scientists find genes to save ash trees from deadly beetle

An international team of scientists have identified candidate resistance genes that could protect ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a deadly pest that is expected to kill billions of trees worldwide. In the new study, published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, sequenced the genomes of 22 species of ash tree (Fraxinus) from around the world and used this information to analyze how the different species are related to each other. Meanwhile, collaborators from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service in Ohio tested resistance of over 20 ash tree species to EAB by hatching eggs attached to the bark of trees, and following the fate of the beetle larvae. Resistant ash trees generally killed the larvae when they burrowed into their stems, but susceptible ones did not. The research team observed that several of the resistant species were more closely related to susceptible species than to other resistant species. This meant the UK-based genome scientists were able to find resistance genes, by looking for places within the DNA where the resistant species were similar, but showed differences from their susceptible relatives…

Salem, Oregon, Statesman Journal, May 22, 2020: Valley of the Giants, saved by Salem barber, features Oregon’s largest and oldest trees

There comes a moment, during the drive from Salem to the Valley of the Giants trailhead, when even the most mature adults transform into 6-year-old children. Are we there yet? No, seriously. Are. We. There. Yet? Although just 33 miles from Salem as the crow flies, the route to this hidden grove requires navigating a labyrinth of rough and unmarked logging roads deep into the Coast Range. Time seems to melt away on winding, car-sick-inducing curves that pass the ghost town of Valsetz and follow the Siletz River on a drive that totals about two hours and 15 minutes. But then you arrive. All the journey’s frustration vanishes into the breeze on a 1.6 mile trail below titanic Douglas firs and hemlocks twisting into the sky like gothic pillars, standing 250 feet above an emerald forest showcasing some of the largest and oldest trees in Oregon. In a landscape defined by logging, the Valley of the Giants is a 51-acre island of old-growth protected by the Bureau of Land Management as an Outstanding Natural Area. “It’s like a pocket of Coast Range forest that time forgot,” said Trish Hogervorst, an officer for the BLM’s Salem District. “There’s a long and bumpy ride to get there, but people really love it. It’s a real hidden jewel…”

New Orleans, Louisiana, Times Picayune, May 21, 2020: Cold damage in queen palms doesn’t show up right away; add mulch in the shade under large oak trees

Q: There is an area on the trunk of my queen palm that has me concerned. The outer layer of bark has peeled away, and it looks like the trunk is rotten in that spot. The top of the palm looks fine, and it has been sending out new fronds. But the area looks terrible, and I was wondering if there was something I should do to help the palm. — Cynthia Simms
A: The queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) is a graceful, fast-growing and popular palm for New Orleans landscapes. Unfortunately, it is also the least cold-tolerant of the commonly planted palms. Queen palms can be badly damaged or killed by temperatures of 20 degrees or lower. Temperatures reached those lows back in February 2018. The fronds (leaves) of all the queen palms turned brown after the freeze. Some of them sprouted out in the spring, but many were killed. Of those queen palms that survived and recovered, some sustained cold damage to the trunks. This damage was not immediately apparent, however. As time goes by, you may see patches of the outer trunk peel away revealing decaying tissue, just as you describe on your palm. There is nothing you can or should do about this old cold damage. The palm may live for years, and you do not have to consider removal as long as the foliage of the palms stays green and healthy. Monitor the decayed area. If decay continues to eat into the trunk, it can eventually weaken the trunk to the point it may break. If the decay becomes extensive, have the tree evaluated by a licensed arborist and decide if removal is necessary…

Sacramento, California, Sacramento Magazine, May 21, 2020: New Life for Old Trees

The Sacramento Tree Foundation has come up with a novel way to manage wood waste from the urban forest. Through a program called Urban Wood Rescue, dead trees that normally would be chipped into mulch or sent to a landfill to decompose are turned into slabs of quality kiln-dried wood prized by artisans and do-it-yourselfers. “Trees inevitably die; that’s just a fact of the urban forest or any forest,” says Stephanie Robinson, communications and engagement manager for the organization. “But that really gorgeous, useable wood has a lot of environmental benefits if we retain it.” That’s because living trees capture carbon in their wood. “When we leave that wood in whole form, it locks down the carbon as long as that wood remains in whole form. If we chip it or burn it or let it decompose in the landfill, eventually all of that carbon is released back into the atmosphere,” Robinson explains. A grant from Cal Fire enabled the foundation to launch the wood rescue program. It all starts when a tree is removed and the donated log is delivered to the Urban Wood Rescue lumberyard, where it’s milled and dried in a vacuum kiln. “Once slabs are dry, we list them on our website and then sell them to the public. All of those proceeds go back to the tree foundation to further advance tree plantings and our programs,” says Robinson…

Dayton, Ohio, Dayton Daily News, May 22, 2020: Local garden centers see ‘record-breaking’ sales amid pandemic

Food, toilet paper and cleaning supplies aren’t the only items people have been craving during Ohio’s stay-at-home period. Local garden centers are reporting “record-breaking” sales during the coronavirus pandemic. The North Dayton Garden Center, at 1309 Brandt Pike, is having a “banner year,” said owner and co-founder Pete Kossoudji. “I’ve been hearing from customers who are enlarging their garden plots, some are even doubling them,” Kossoudji said. “Which makes me happy that they’re buying more, I’m grateful, but I am also fearful for my customers, for my friends and for my family. This is a scary time.” Marybeth Taggart, advertising manager for Grandma’s Gardens near Waynesville, said the garden center had a record-setting Mother’s Day sale. The average amount spent per purchase has increased this spring, too, according to Taggart. “With so many stuck at home, people are upgrading their gardens and landscapes,” Taggart said. “Growers are actually having a tough time keeping up with the demand…”

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CBC, May 21, 2020: Saskatoon residents outraged after CP Rail cuts down 2,000 trees

Saskatoon residents say they’re shocked CP Rail recently cut down an estimated 2,000 trees in their neighbourhood. They say CP owes them an explanation, but refused to talk to them before, during or after the operation. “This looks terrible. CP is being a bad neighbour,” said Melanie Vanderlinde, vice-president of the North Park Richmond Heights Community Association. CP recently removed nearly every tree from an embankment along 33rd Street, the residents say. Beginning near the South Saskatchewan Riverbank, the seven-metre-wide cut runs west for roughly one kilometre. A member of SOS Trees Coalition — a Saskatoon group focused on urban forest preservation — conducted a rough a count of the stumps. It estimates between 2,000 and 2,500 trees, most of them apparently healthy Manitoba maples, were felled. An estimated 2,000 trees to the left of this bike path along Saskatoon’s 33rd Street have now been removed by CP Rail, angering residents and tree advocates. (Submitted by Richard Kerbes) The affected embankment runs between the CP railway tracks and a bike path. The embankment is CP property, and the City of Saskatoon has no power to stop tree removal on private property, an official confirmed. CP officials declined a CBC News interview request, but emailed a statement saying CP conducts a “comprehensive annual vegetation management program across its rail network” and that safety “is integral to CP’s long-term success and the foundation of everything we do…

Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal, May 21, 2020: Oldham County man dies after tree falls on him, police say

An Oldham County man was killed Wednesday afternoon after a tree fell on him while he was working with a crew to remove it from a property, police say. Benjamin Oliver, 33, of Crestwood, was pronounced dead just after 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at a property in the 6600 block of Kentucky Highway 329, where he had been struck by a falling tree, according to an Oldham County Police news release. Police learned that the homeowner had hired Crestwood Cutters to remove a large tree from the property. Oliver, who was employed by the tree removal service, had cut a wedge into the front of the tree while preparing to remove its base, according to his coworkers. As Oliver prepared to move to the rear of the tree to finish cutting it, the tree snapped and fell, trapping Oliver beneath it, according to police…

Albany, New York, Times Union, May 20, 2020: Clifton Park residents seek end to developer’s plan to remove trees

A 69-acre forest running along the Northway near Ushers Road is once again the scene of anti-development sentiment. The owners, Boni Builders, want to harvest timber from 60 acres of a forest that runs along Wood Dale Drive. But residents say the move, which has yet to be approved by the town, is a precursor to what they believe is Boni’s true motivation – a housing development — something the developer has attempted there in recent years. “It’s a terrible idea,” said Jim Ruhl, who is leading the neighborhood opposition to the timber harvest. “There is a history of trying to develop it and refusals by the planning board… We are trying to nip it in the bud. The whole strategy is to start early.” Ruhl wrote in a memo to the town that the removal of 1,250 trees, which is the estimate from harvester Stillwater Forestry Services, would impact the character of the neighborhood. “The trees have provided residents a valuable Northway noise buffer,” the Ruhl memo stated. “Harvesting… will negatively affect its effectiveness and consequently the quiet, residential character of the Wood Dale neighborhood…”

Romeoville, Illinois, Patch, May 20, 2020: Village Introduces Parkway Tree Replacement Program For Residents

In an effort to maintain the character of its family-friendly neighborhoods with a network of tree-lined streets, the Village of Romeoville announced the Parkway Tree Replacement Program on Tuesday, May 19. This program is intended to assist residents who wish to have trees planted in the parkway in front of their homes where the trees do not currently exist or where the trees are in poor condition. It does not apply to commercial or common areas in the subdivision. The village will offer a cost-share program to residents who wish to have trees planted, and contribute $75 towards the purchase of each tree. Residents may choose from a variety of approved trees. Trees must be purchased from village’s designated landscaper. Trees can be placed within the parkway. If a tree cannot be planted in the parkway due to the village requirements, the village will review a location within the front yard…

Bathurst, NSW, Australia, Western Advocate, May 21, 2020: Poplar trees to go, making way for new plantings in Jacques Park

He tried his best, but there was nothing more councillor John Fry could do to save poplar trees slated for removal in Jacques Park. A report on the trees was presented to Bathurst Regional Council’s meeting on Wednesday, with a recommendation from the director of Engineering Services to remove the trees from the Hawthornden Creek riparian zone in Jacques Park. Cr Fry immediately put forward an alternate motion, which was for the poplar trees to remain in place within the park until they become a public safety risk. He said that, based on his own observations and discussions with other environmental groups, the majority of the poplars weren’t a biosecurity risk and presented only minimal risk to stream health. A second part to his motion was that any future removal is done in consultation with the community. Cr Fry said that rehabilitation of Jacques Park has been occurring for more than two decades with the help of community members, who have been planting trees and driving works in the park. “I think the community needs to be recognised as having a significant stake in this and doing an incredible amount of work, and a lot of non-government groups… they’ve been driving this and I think they should be considered when we make big management decisions on this park,” he said…

New York City, The New York Times, May 21, 2020: What About the Plants?

Like many of his friends, Jake Foster considered leaving his Brooklyn apartment and retreating to his parents’ home in Dallas to escape the endless drumbeat of coronavirus. But first he had to devise a plan for his 60 house plants. He thought about rigging up a drip watering system, but it was beyond his engineering skills. “I sketched out a few ideas in my mind, but nothing that wouldn’t end up flooding my apartment and killing all my plants,” said Mr. Foster, 33, a software engineer. “So I ended up staying here.” As the weeks have passed, Mr. Foster has unexpectedly become a good Samaritan to plants left behind by fleeing New Yorkers. Riding his bike around the city, he’s picked up more than a dozen plants discarded on street curbs or left outside apartment buildings. “The intent wasn’t that I was leaving to find plants, but the more I started doing it, the more plants became available to me,” he said. “There’s an unwritten law that once you start looking for something, you find it everywhere.” While some departing residents have left plants on streets, flora of all shapes and sizes have also been abandoned in now-empty apartments, office buildings and commercial spaces. Friends and neighbors who have remained in the city have been called upon to care for deserted plants, and watering services have stepped in to care for greenery left in workplaces…

Inside Climate News, May 20, 2020: Tree Deaths in Urban Settings Are Linked to Leaks from Natural Gas Pipelines Below Streets

Natural gas leaks from underground pipelines are killing trees in densely populated urban environments, a new study suggests, adding to concerns over such leaks fueling climate change and explosion hazards. The study, which took place in Chelsea, Massachusetts, a low-income immigrant community near Boston, also highlights the many interrelated environmental challenges in a city that faces high levels of air pollution, soaring summer temperatures and is now beset by one of the highest coronavirus infection rates in the nation. Dead or dying trees were 30 times more likely to have been exposed to methane in the soil surrounding their roots than healthy trees, according to the study published last month in the journal Environmental Pollution. “I was pretty blown away by that result,” said Madeleine Scammell, an environmental health professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health who co-authored the study. “If these trees were humans, we would be talking about what to do to stop this immediately…”

MLive.com, May 19, 2020: Michigan’s standing dead trees could nearly wrap around the Earth

If all the standing dead trees in Michigan were laid side-by-side in a 4-foot tall pile, they would nearly wrap around the Earth – and they could be a valuable resource to enhance the state’s economy. The volume of standing dead trees in the state amounts to about 2.2 billion cubic feet, which is the equivalent of 28.7 million cords, according to Michigan State University Extension. 28.7 million cords would be roughly 22,000 miles long if lined up, side-by-side – and that is nearly the circumference of the Earth at the equator. A cord is a measure of wood that occupies 128 cubic feet when “racked and well-stowed” in a 4-foot tall pile. The state’s volume of standing dead trees has built up over time. MSUE estimates the annual tree mortality rate to be about six million cords. By comparison, Michigan’s annual harvest is about five million cords…

New Haven, Connecticut, Yale Environment 360, May 19, 2020: In California, A Push Grows to Turn Dead Trees into Biomass Energy

Jonathan Kusel owns three pickups and a 45-foot truck for hauling woodchip bins. He operates a woodchip yard and a 35-kilowatt biomass plant that burns dead trees, and he runs a crew marking trees for loggers working in national forests. Those are a lot of blue-collar credentials for a University of California, Berkeley PhD sociologist known for his documentation of how the decline of the timber industry affects rural communities. What drove Kusel into a side business — logging small and dead trees and burning them in biomass boilers — is fear of fire. In 2007, the 65,000-acre Moonlight Fire blew flaming embers onto his lawn near Taylorsville, California as he readied his family to evacuate. Last September, the Walker Fire scorched 54,614 acres just up the valley from the offices of the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, the nonprofit research organization Kusel founded in 1993. In that 12-year span, wildfires burned 690 square miles in the northern Sierra Nevada. Drought, a warming climate, and bark-beetle infestations have also killed 147 million California trees since 2013, most of them along the Sierra spine running south from Kusel’s home base past Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park to Tehachapi Pass, 75 miles north of Los Angeles. Scientists say these trees are poised to burn in California’s next round of megafires, threatening the range with blazes so intense they will leave some places unable to establish new forests…

New Milford, Connecticut, Spectrum, May 19, 2020: ‘Tree placement and design depends on your preferences’

Apple trees grown from pips, seeds, can grow to heights of 25 to 35 feet. Trees this large, called standards, need room for their roots and branches. If they are planted too close the roots collide and naturally inhibit growth. Overlapping branches prevent sunlight from ripening the fruit. In both cases, the trees are vying for the resources needed to produce a healthy crops. One-hundred nine apple trees spaced 20 feet apart would fill an acre and would be capable of producing 20- to 30,000 apples. That is a lot of apple sauce, or cider, or table fruit. Take your pick.The various apple, pear, apricot, nectarine and peach trees here are cast about various areas here. The decision as to where to plant them has evolved over 15 years and I made some serious mistakes. The first attempt at growing fruit was driven by a lack of properly ripened Asian pears at the local markets. The fruit grown in South America, and maybe California, and is shipped in bushel boxes sleeved in styrofoam. In my opinion, they are as tasty as the sleeves they are shipped in. So, I decided to grow my own from mail order whips from Miller Brothers in western New York. Five out of six whips failed. So did Miller Brothers. Failure led to the question, “Why?” The answer is, placement is at the top of the list. As it turns out, the chosen area was the worst location I could have chosen. The trees were planted below a stonewall at a low point in the yard where cold air falls off a slope and sits…

New York City, New York Post, May 17, 2020: Parks Dept. says porn star Ron Jeremy’s childhood tree is getting axed

Ron Jeremy’s wood can’t stay erect, the city Parks Department told The Post on Sunday. The porn actor, who’s nearly 70, had been fighting to save a tree outside his former childhood home in Bayside, Queens — tweeting out a plea for help Saturday. “This tree was planted by my dad the day I was born,” Jeremy wrote, adding, HELP RON JEREMY SAVE HIS WOOD,” and, “Please make this trend.” But a Parks source told The Post that the tree will be getting the ax — because it is in bad condition and poses a danger to passers-by. The Norway maple, which is about 2 feet in diameter, was examined by the department’s foresters May 1, and they “found the tree to be in poor condition,” the source said. “Less than half of the tree’s canopy remains, and the few branches left are likely to fall,” the source said. There is no set timeline yet for the tree’s removal only “because some of the branches are close to power lines, [and] Con-Edison will provide clearance prior to tree removal…”

Denver, Colorado, KMGH-TV, May 18, 2020: Denver homeowner says newly planted trees were stolen out of her yard

Norma Clark is trying to sell her home and she was hoping some added curb appeal would entice buyers, but she never expected her newly planted trees would attract criminals. “You’re like, Something is wrong here.’ I saw holes, holes in the ground and it just broke my heart,” said Clark. Clark said she was getting ready to mow her lawn the next day when she realized the trees were missing. Her brother had just helped plant them the day before. “I cried, it was just… it was just disheartening. I’m sorry, you know, because you work so hard on something and you try so hard and some people just don’t get it,” said Clark. The eight small pine trees were located along her fence in front of the home and on the side, now only the holes are left. She wonders if someone who was driving by or walking in the area saw her planting the trees and decided to come back that night. Clark is trying not to feel deflated but the past couple of years have been tough. She is trying to sell her home to help pay for her daughter’s medical bills after battling leukemia. “So with trying to get through that and medical expenses, that’s why we put the house on the market, so we could take a deep breath and relax a little bit,” said Clark. Neighbors are outraged by the crime and they’ve been writing messages of support on Next-door…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sun, May 17, 2020: Matchmaker: Picking the right tree or shrub for your area

Question: After I bought a “Sea Green” juniper I noticed the tag said “Hardy to 20°F.” Well, I live at almost 7,000 feet in Torrance County. When I looked online it said my zone is 6. I think maybe the tag is wrong. Do you agree?
Answer: I’m not familiar with the “Sea Green” juniper, so I did a quick search and confirmed that the recommended planting zones for that shrub are USDA Hardiness Zones 4–9. I also double checked the USDA Hardiness Zones for your county, which tend to be in Zones 6–7. You can find the USDA Hardiness Zone for your location at https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/. As described on that website, the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is “the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location.” The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree Fahrenheit zones. For example, USDA Hardiness Zone 6 has average annual extreme minimum temperatures from minus-10 degrees to 0 degrees, and Zone 7 is slightly warmer with average annual extreme minimums from 0 degrees to 10 degrees. Since the plant you bought is recorded as being cold hardy to a safe minimum of Zone 4, with average extreme cold temps down to minus-30 degrees, there’s a really good chance it will survive winters in your general area. The average extreme low temperatures vary based on which years the data averages came from. For the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, the zone assignments are based on data from 1976 through 2005. Because average temperatures are going up with climate change, we can expect the assigned zones for different regions to change too, but not as uniformly as you might think. It’s not that simple. Even as average temperatures rise, we’re still expected to get cold snaps and polar vortices…

New York City, The New York Times, May 18, 2020: 7.7 Million Young People Are Unemployed. We Need a New ‘Tree Army.’

Nearly 7.7 million American workers younger than 30 are now unemployed and three million dropped out of the labor force in the past month. Combined that’s nearly one in three young workers, by far the highest rate since the country started tracking unemployment by age in 1948. Nearly 40 percent worked in the devastated retail and food service sectors. And as the most recently hired, young workers are typically the first let go and often the last rehired, especially those of color. As our country’s leaders consider a range of solutions to address this crisis, there’s one fix that will put millions of young Americans directly to work: a 21st-century version of the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt created the C.C.C., he was facing, as we are today, the possibility of a lost generation of young people. The conservation-minded president’s idea was to hire young unemployed men for projects in forestry, soil conservation and recreation…

London, UK, Guardian, May 16, 2020: How urban planners’ preference for male trees has made your hay fever worse

Eight years ago Tom Ogren, a horticulturist, was in Sacramento, California, when he noticed that the ground around the State Capitol building was covered in thick yellow pollen. Scanning the trees along the street with his binoculars, he saw the trees were all deodar cedars (Cedrus deodara) and all cultivated males. Naturally, the deodar is monoecious, having both male and female cones growing on the same tree. But cultivation has produced wholly male trees – plants favoured by planners since they have no seeds or pods to drop but only pollen. This was the case at this Sacramento site, Ogren said. Growers’ breeding of purely male diodar trees had created, said Ogren, “something that doesn’t even exist in nature.” Ogren said he had seen similar pollen-coated cityscapes in Christchurch, New Zealand, London, UK, and all over Canada…

US News and World Report, May 17, 2020: Tennessee Trees Have Toppled. Will Residents Replant?

Another beloved landmark tree fell this month when powerful storms snapped a 200-year-old Shumard oak at a Nashville middle school. It’s one of thousands of trees claimed by winds and tornadoes across Middle Tennessee this spring. Now,
several groups are mobilizing to “re-leaf” the region. But they’re finding that it’s not just the disruption of the pandemic that’s complicating efforts, but also the hesitations of a community that fears the destructive threat of falling trees. Just ask Brad Price, whose home on Holly Street in East Nashville took a direct hit. The tornado took off its roof. A downed electric transformer left a crater in his front yard. And in every direction, trees wreaked havoc on their way down — dragging down power poles, crushing cars and homes and rupturing front yards with their uprooted trunks. “Well, there’s just no more trees, which is really hurtful,” Price said during the cleanup three days later. Yet at the same time, he found an unsettling silver lining. The loss of all those trees, from his hilly vantage point, revealed a view of the downtown Nashville skyline from his front porch. And from that first week of recovery, Price says the skyline sticks with him, silhouetted against glowing orange and pink sunsets…

New York City, The New York Times, May 18, 2020: America’s Killer Lawns

One day last fall, deep in the middle of a devastating drought, I was walking the dog when a van bearing the logo of a mosquito-control company blew past me and parked in front of a neighbor’s house. The whole vehicle stank of chemicals, even going 40 miles an hour. The man who emerged from the truck donned a massive backpack carrying a tank full of insecticide and proceeded to spray every bush and plant in the yard. Then he got in his truck, drove two doors down, and sprayed that yard, too, before continuing his route all around the block. Here’s the most heartbreaking thing about the whole episode: He was spraying for mosquitoes that didn’t even exist: Last year’s extreme drought ended mosquito-breeding season long before the first freeze. Nevertheless, the mosquito vans arrived every three weeks, right on schedule, drenching the yards with poison for no reason but the schedule itself. And spraying for mosquitoes isn’t the half of it, as any walk through the lawn-care department of a big-box store will attest. People want the outdoors to work like an extension of their homes — fashionable, tidy, predictable. Above all, comfortable. So weedy yards filled with tiny wildflowers get bulldozed end to end and replaced with sod cared for by homeowners spraying from a bottle marked “backyard bug control” or by lawn services that leave behind tiny signs warning, “Lawn care application; keep off the grass…”

Detroit, Michigan, News, May 17, 2020: Michigan apple, peach trees damaged in worst spring freeze since 2002

Fruit growers are assessing the damage on their orchards after temperatures plunged below freezing in south-central and southwest Michigan, threatening tender blooms on apple, peach and other fruit trees. Last weekend’s morning freeze was the worst of its type since one that hit the area in May 2002, according to the Lansing State Journal. Cold, dry air blowing in from Canada dropped temperatures into the low- to mid-20s for nearly nine hours, according to the Lansing State Journal. “We won’t realize the extent of the damage until maybe next week,” said Audrey Sebolt, a horticultural specialist with the Michigan Farm Bureau. “Statewide, we won’t fully know until June, when the fruit is set.” Mark Longstroth, a fruit educator at Michigan State University, said fruits that bloom early were probably hurt the most. “Some apple varieties were pretty severely affected, some others not so bad,” he said. “The grapes came through it surprisingly well, and we’ve been real surprised how little damage blueberries suffered from the freeze…”

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, May 14, 2020: PG&E seeks relief from judge’s order on power-line inspections, tree trimming

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is trying to unwind a federal judge’s order that directs the company to revamp the way it inspects its heavy-duty power lines and trims trees that could damage electrical equipment and cause more catastrophic wildfires. In a court filing late Wednesday, PG&E attorneys asked U.S. District Judge William Alsup to reconsider his April order imposing a series of additional conditions as part of the company’s five-year-probation sentence arising from the deadly 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion. The company said Alsup failed to give PG&E an opportunity to raise objections at a hearing, based his order on “a series of factual errors” and interfered with the role of state regulators. The conditions are also “substantively unreasonable because they are not reasonably necessary to accomplish the purposes of sentencing,” a filing from the company said…

Jacksonville, Florida, WTLV-TV, May 14, 2020: Trees cut without permit at St. Augustine theater before turning parking lot into drive-in

Trees were cut down without legal permission at a St. Augustine movie theater. It apparently happened just days before the Epic Theater turned its parking lot into a drive-in theater Monday. “I was disappointed that the trees were cut down,” St. Johns County Commissioner Henry Dean said. In the theater’s parking lot, the tops of at least four live oak trees and a crepe myrtle were hacked off. Now, only their trunks stick up out of the ground. Saturday, a concerned resident reported the incident to the county offices. Two days later, the company started showing movies on the white part of its exterior wall, turning the same parking lot into a drive-in theater. “I would guess the Epic Theater owners felt it was probably necessary to remove the trees, I’m guessing really, in order to provide adequate viewing space for the cars they anticipate at the drive-in movie,” Dean said. He said the theater chopped down the trees without a permit. First Coast News reached out to Epic Theatre in several ways for comment. We have not heard back. Danny Lippi, an arborist, told First Coast News when you take off the top of the tree, it removes the leaves… and those leaves help make food for the tree. Also, that inner part of the trunk that is exposed now can decay. So even if these trees get big, Lippi said, they could be “hazardous” and weakened…

Long Beach, California, Press-Telegram, May 14, 2020: Coastal Commission charges Long Beach with pattern of illegal tree trimming

A California Coastal Commission investigation has concluded Long Beach violated a state law last week by having a contractor trim palm trees on the peninsula when there were multiple active great blue heron nests there. The city has violated tree-trimming regulations multiple times over the past three years, a letter from enforcement officer Jordan Sanchez to Long Beach said. That has prompted a series of proposed penalties, including requiring the city to plant more trees, create a new tree-trimming plan with more oversight, and pay fines, — with the money going to local environmental groups. The fines for violating the California Coastal Act can run from $500 to $30,000. On Wednesday, May 6, a private tree-trimming crew worked on 86 Mexican fan palm trees in the Ocean Boulevard median. Several of the trees had active nests, including at least one fledgling heron died. “We’re still uncovering details, but it was clearly a mistake,” Public Works Director Craig Beck said last week. The company “was trimming the tall palms around 65th Place, and a neighbor called and said there was a bird on the ground.” The city responded, Beck added, and told the tree trimmers to leave. The city investigation continues, Beck said this week, adding that a complete report will likely not be ready by Friday — which the Coastal Commission demanded in its letter…

Paducah, Kentucky, Sun, May 15, 2020: Tree trimming and pruning

Do not trust a stranger with a chainsaw in his hand. Recently, a friend’s neighbor asked if her tree trimmer could cut a few branches off my friend’s tree. The specific branches were agreed upon, but later my friend discovered more than twice the number were removed. The trimmer’s response was that the neighbor was paying him; the friend told him it was her tree and to stop. The once beautifully shaped tree is no longer an asset to the landscape and will need to be shaped at her expense. She has lost the value of the tree to the house. Well-designed landscaping is valued at 6-10% of the value of a home depending on location and a number of other factors including age, type of tree, etc. In addition, the branches were not cut according to accepted tree-trimming practices. Do not saw against the tree but to the outside of the “collar” which joins the branch and trunk. The collar contains special cells that form a protective scab over the cut. Without that collar, the tree will not form protection from insects and disease. Branches should not be cut parallel to the ground, but at an angle that allows water to run off rather than sitting on the cut. If the branch is torn in cutting or by a storm, cut back into solid wood. A dead branch should be cut into live wood, not just to live, as the branch will continue to die back. All trees have better times of the year to have their limbs removed than others. Generally, it is best to have the damage corrected as soon as possible…

Syracuse, New York, Syracuse.com, May 13, 2020: How Beak and Skiff tricked Mother Nature to protect apple trees from frost

It was a dangerous night for apple trees. The wind was barely stirring at Beak and Skiff Apple Orchards. The temperature had fallen below 30 degrees. And as the frost set in, the LaFayette orchard’s tender blossoms — which will eventually turn into apples — were at risk of dying before they even got a chance to bloom. So the farm’s crew headed into the cold, dark orchard just after midnight to set up smudge pots and turn on wind machines to raise the temperatures just enough to protect the buds from the potentially deadly freeze. “We can trick mother nature by about 2 degrees, and that’s all it takes,” said Peter Fleckenstein, a partner at Beak and Skiff and general manager of the orchard’s fresh fruit and juice operation The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for Central New York, warning that temperatures could drop as low as 27 degrees across the region. That’s a dangerous number for near-blossoming apple trees, Fleckenstein said: Temperatures below 27 degrees can kill buds, endangering CNY’s favorite fruit. “One night can ruin the whole season,” he said…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, May 13, 2020: Brooklyn and Parma Heights mayors engage in Census 2020 tree challenge

The gauntlet has been thrown down between Brooklyn Mayor Katie Gallagher and Parma Heights Mayor Michael P. Byrne regarding Census 2020. Both city leaders mean business, which is why the former challenged the latter to see which community can hit a 75 percent response rate. The winner receives what’s being called the “Census Tree.” At last check, Parma Heights was winning, with a 71.7 percent response rate vs. Brooklyn’s 70.6 response rate. “Parma Heights is a partner and a neighboring community. We share a lot of services together,” Gallagher said. “Being the same population size, same type of demographic, it’s just a friendly challenge to try to incentivize our residents and teach them the importance of filling out the census and how it helps the community as far as resources down the line,” she said… Regarding the location of the “Census Tree” if their respective communities win, Gallagher said it’ll be planted somewhere for the public to enjoy, while Byrne said it’ll be in a prominent spot…

Verona, New Jersey, myveronanj.com, May 13, 2020: Cutting A Tree? Get A Permit

If your outdoor projects during the pandemic include cutting down a tree, you’ll need to get a permit first–or face a fine and other costs. Township officials have issued five violations in recent days for cutting down trees without a permit, and the new rules enacted by the Town Council last year mean a minimum fine of $200 per violation. Homeowners also face the prospect of having to plant new trees to replace those taken down. Last October, in a 3-2 vote, the Council approved the first significant revisions to Verona’s municipal code on trees in more than 50 years. To preserve the environmental benefits that come with trees, the ordinance made it unlawful to remove or trim more than 30% of any healthy mature tree without a permit. Any homeowner who needs to remove more than two healthy mature trees within a calendar year must get the approval of the Planning Board. The permit fee for two trees was set at $50, but the measure specified that no permit was needed if a tree had been found to be dead, diseased or a hazard. The tree ordinance requires homeowners to plant native trees as replacements or pay $400 into a replacement fund controlled by the town. Councilman Ted Giblin and Councilwoman Christine McGrath, who is the Town Council’s liaison to the Verona Environmental Commission, voted against the ordinance…

Newburyport, Massachusetts, News, May 13, 2020: Two candidates vie for Newbury tree warden

Incumbent Tree Warden Tim Lamprey will receive a challenge in the town election from Bernie Field, a lifelong Byfield resident. The election is June 16 with early and absentee voting happening now. Polling hours have yet to be set. Voters will fill 14 municipal seats on the annual ballot. The deadline to register to vote is June 5. The annual Town Meeting is June 9 at 7 p.m. at Newbury Elementary School. The deadline to register to vote is May 20. The town clerk’s office is encouraging mail-in voting and has sent ballots to registered voters. Anyone who is registered to vote but did not receive a ballot can access one at the election/town meeting link at http://www.townofnewbury.org. The candidates for tree warden were asked to comment on why they are the best person to fill this position…

Science, May 12, 2020: Deadly imports: In one U.S. forest, 25% of tree loss caused by foreign pests and disease

From a deadly fungus that showed its face in 1904 on an American chestnut in the Bronx to a nematode recently found to kill American beeches in Ohio, forests in the United States have faced more than 100 years’ worth of attacks from introduced pests and pathogens. But how much of a chunk are these invaders actually taking out of the woods? A new study suggests the impact is severe, accounting for one-quarter of all tree deaths in eastern U.S. forests over the past 3 decades. That death toll is likely far higher than the mortality caused by introduced species from the 1940s to the 1980s, and also “currently much bigger than any known effect of climate change,” says Kristina Anderson-Teixeira, an ecologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute who led the research. Scientists have documented at least 450 foreign insects and pathogens that have found their way to North America and feed on trees. Most do little damage, but more than a dozen have proved extraordinarily destructive, wiping out tree species—or even whole genera—as functioning members of forest ecosystems…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star Tribune, May 12, 2020: Roseville lowers tree replacement fees for single-family development

An ordinance to protect mature trees from developers’ bulldozers may have gone too far, leaders in one Ramsey County suburb decided this week. After months of discussion, the Roseville City Council has throttled back a rule that required property owners to either replant new trees to replace all mature trees cut down during development or pay fees that climb as high as 10% of the property value. The tree ordinance stirred controversy last summer when two heavily wooded residential lots under development were initially each charged more than $10,000 for tree replacement. “It was an unusual situation where they had to take down so many big trees and the lots weren’t big enough to put them back,” said Janice Gundlach, Roseville community development director. The City Council agreed Monday to cap the fees in the tree preservation and restoration ordinance at 5% of the property value for single-family lots. Larger development projects must still pay up to 10% of property value for downed trees, or replace them…

Hannibal, Missouri, The Whig, May 13, 2020: Hannibal targets invasive pear tree one at a time

Members of the Hannibal Tree Board know their work never ends since there are always trees to plant, prune, mulch or water. But moving up on the board’s priority list is setting aside time to educate the public about the invasive Bradford pear tree. “That might be an idea for a future project we could tackle,” said Tree Board President Kristy Trevathan during the board’s May 6 meeting at city hall. Trevathan proposed scheduling a public workshop during which a Bradford pear that is currently growing on public property could be brought down. Trevathan said it wasn’t all that long ago that the local tree board was recommending the Bradford pear as a tree to plant in urban spaces because of its tolerance of poor soil and pollution. “Everybody thought they were a wonderful tree,” Trevathan said, adding that she had recently come across some old Missouri Department of Conservation literature that also promoted the tree, which is native to China. “Now it is said they are an invasive tree and to remove them.” The MDC considers the Bradford pear invasive in part because it multiplies quickly and crowds out Missouri native plants. “The bush honeysuckle and the Bradford pear really do multiply,” Trevathan said. The Bradford pear in the spring features very dense clusters of white flowers that cover the tree before its leaves form. The tree, which reaches heights of 30 to 40 feet when it matures, has some negative traits such as a short lifespan (about 20 years) and a weak branch structure that ultimately leads to it breaking apart…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Metro Philly, May 12, 2020: TreePhilly program offers city residents free trees

More trees, please. That has been the attitude of Philadelphia’s annual TreePhilly program for years and even amongst a global pandemic, the city’s flourishing green initiative is continuing its mission. Philadelphia Parks and Recreation announced it will once again offer Philadelphia residents a chance to receive a free tree at two no-contact pickup events. There will also be a door-to-door delivery service available for high-risk residents as well. Registration is open through Sunday, May 17. The pickup events will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24, at various locations throughout Philly. Trees will be delivered from May 25-29 and are available while supplies last. “Now more than ever, Philadelphians need trees in their communities,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell in a statement. “We are thrilled to be able to offer Philadelphia residents a safe opportunity to make a difference this spring, literally right in their own backyard…”

Reuters, May 11, 2020: False claim: Photo shows trees cut down to enable 5G technology

Social media users have shared a photograph of a residential street lined with stumps, falsely claiming trees were cut down to make way for 5G technology. On February 4, 2019, the photo was shared on Facebook with the caption: “5G can’t pass through tree leaves so they chopped them all down.” A screenshot of this post has since been shared by a different social media user on April 2, 2020. A publication for 5G planning by the British government states that some objects, including trees and hedges, can interfere with 5G signals. However, the trees in the photograph were not cut down because of 5G, but because they were old and potentially dangerous. On February 6, 2019, the photo was published in an article by Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad (here). Hannelore Smitz, the journalist who wrote the article, told Reuters that he obtained the photograph from a resident who was worried about why the trees had been felled. The article explains that trees along the Baron Descampslaan road in the Belgium city of Leuven were cut down so they could be replaced. According to the report, Belgian politician Carl Devlies said the trees were being replaced because “some were sick, others were crooked, and some were showing signs of aging…”

Relief Web, May 11, 2020: Harnessing tech to employ last-mile tree planters in a COVID-19 world

The year 2020 started with such optimism and hope for nature-based solutions and environmental sustainability. Environmental, social and governance investments were high on the agenda at Davos; the World Economic Forum launched the 1 Trillion Trees campaign, backed by Salesforce; BlackRock’s CEO sent an open letter to industry leaders about the future of the planet and the tough but necessary choices ahead for investment; and calls for action from young people were gathering momentum. The message was clear: if we don’t do something fast, our future does not look good. Then, a few short weeks into the new decade, COVID-19 literally shut giant swaths of the world down. Planes stopped flying, factories closed, businesses had to adapt, and people stayed indoors. Many world leaders showed us that in times of crisis they can act fast. Now what? Post COVID-19 recovery plans are a priority: the current loss of income and slowed economic growth are being compared by some to the Great Depression of the 1930s—and this time the situation may be affecting millions more people. The climate, biodiversity and COVID-19-induced poverty crises require creative and innovative solutions…

Greenville, South Carolina, News, May 11, 2020: Despite tornado, trees still ‘rock’ for Botany Woods resident

[Editor’s note: Although the content of this story is blocked, being for subscribers only, and being as how we at treeandneighborlawblog.com really don’t have much use for a subscription to the Greenville News, fine paper though it is, we can only show you the photo, a delicious piece of irony that pretty much speaks for itself].

UPI, May 11, 2020: Giant Asian gypsy moth threatens trees in Washington

After a warning about the bee-killing Asian giant hornet, Washington state is bracing for invasion of another supersize invasive insect. This one, the Hokkaido gypsy moth, can destroy trees. Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation last week, warning that the moths have been discovered in parts of Snohomish County, which is northeast of Seattle. “This imminent danger of infestation seriously endangers the agricultural and horticultural industries of the state of Washington and seriously threatens the economic well-being and quality of life of state residents,” Inslee said in a statement. Hokkaido gypsy moths never have been observed before in the United States. They are exotic pests that can do “widespread damage” when hundreds of voracious caterpillars hatch, Karla Salp, a spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Agriculture, told UPI…

Midland, Texas, Reporter-Telegram, May 10, 2020: ‘Specimen Tree’ to be focal point of downtown park

Centennial Park officials planted what they expect will be the “focal point” of the $18 million downtown project. Last week, a crane helped plant a live oak tree – or the “specimen tree” on top of the mesa in the park, located next to the Bush Convention Center. “Once the park opens, Centennial Park hopes the tree will serve as a gathering place for all Midlanders!” according to the city’s public information Facebook page. The specimen tree has a 17-inch diameter and was trucked in from Austin. In February, park officials said they expect a June 17 completion date. Centennial Park is located in the heart of downtown Midland, in the space previously occupied by Centennial Plaza and the Midland County Courthouse. The 4-acre park, according to the city, is centered around the lawn and performance pavilion, with tree-lined promenades running along its perimeter. An interactive water feature functions as a splash pad by day and a fountain by night. Additional features include a dog park, concessions kiosk, grove seating, and a nature-style playground…

Cadillac, Michigan, News, May 11, 2020: Learning about signature tree species

Forest types are largely defined by the dominant tree species within the canopy of a stand. However, understory regeneration often varies, sometimes suggesting long-term forest type changes. Over decades, forests undergo somewhat predictable changes. Foresters call this “forest succession.‘ One of the best indicators of where a forest stand might be headed is from examining the regeneration. Without major disturbance, there’s a pretty good chance the seedlings of today will become the dominant forest type of the future. Different forest types have various track records in their ability to reproduce themselves over time. Northern hardwoods can sustain themselves for centuries. Signature species, such as sugar maple, beech, and basswood, are capable of growing in the shade and will take advantage of small canopy gaps as old trees gradually die. On the other end of the spectrum, paper birch and red pine stands have very low percentages of their own seedlings in the understory. These are sun-loving tree species. Without disturbance, other forest types will replace these forest types. Paper birch stands are likely to become balsam fir or northern hardwoods. Red pine stands will trend more towards red maple, black cherry, and different species of oak. Similarly, aspen stands tend to be replaced by red maple or balsam fir. Aspen is particularly popular with most game species and a growing number of birds with declining populations…

Cosmo Magazine, May 11, 2020: Tree diversity not just in rainforests

Rainforests get the headlines, but other forests also are home to thousands of unique and important tree species, new research reveals. An international team studied DNA data from more than 10,000 forest and savanna sites across the Americas and discovered that nearly 30% of tree evolutionary diversity is only to be found in temperate and tropical dry forests. The comparable figure for tropical rainforests is 26%. “Our findings show that temperate forests and dry forests have unique evolutionary history that merits far greater conservation attention,” says Toby Pennington, from the University of Exeter, UK. “Protecting rain forests is obviously vital for many reasons, but we shouldn’t ignore the unique tree biodiversity of temperate and dry forests.” The study found that temperate forests hold unique genetic lines of trees including members of the oak and elm families. Unique lineages in dry forests – such as the Caatinga of Brazil and the Chiquitania of Bolivia – include members of the pea and cacti families. By examining the evolutionary structure of tree communities, the researchers – from the UK, the US, Chile and Brazil – tried to discover the main factors that prevent species expanding into new areas and environments…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, May 7, 2020: Why are trees in North Texas so much shorter than those in other areas? Curious Texas investigates

Here in North Texas, enormous trees are far from common — especially compared with other parts of the country. Many of the tallest trees are on the West Coast, benefiting from the weather and soil there. In fact, the world’s tallest, at 380 feet, is in California. Here in the Dallas area, you’re not going to find anything remotely close to that. After a friend in Vancouver, Canada, asked about the height of North Texas trees, reader Ken Lee turned to Curious Texas with his own observation and question: “Why are the trees in North Texas so short? Trees in a lot of other areas of Texas can get very tall, but there are so few here.” There are several answers to Lee’s question. Steve Houser, a consulting arborist with Arborlogical boils the factors down to genetics, environmental conditions and history. The trees that are native to North Texas are naturally shorter. For example, the Texas red oak, which is native to North Texas, grows to about 40 feet while the Shumard red oak, native to East Texas, grows to more than 100 feet. Most trees cannot grow taller than 150 to 160 feet because the tree must be able to defy gravity to transport water from the roots to the top. “It is a simple matter of physics that the vascular system of a tree cannot carry or transport water much higher than 160 feet,” Houser said. “The redwoods and giant sequoias have the ability to capture and utilize water from the air and rainfall or fog, which allows them to grow much taller than other tree species…”

International Business Times, May 7, 2020: Washington State Faces ‘Imminent Danger’ Of Asian Gypsy Moth Infestation

After recent news about sightings of so-called murder hornets in Washington state, authorities are now warning of a possible infestation of another non-native pest species. Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation Tuesday, stating an “imminent danger of an infestation” of non-native pests, the Asian gypsy moths and the Asian-European hybrid gypsy moths in Snohomish County. “(T)his imminent danger of infestation seriously endangers the agricultural and horticultural industries of the state of Washington and seriously threatens the economic well-being and quality of life of state residents,” the proclamation stated. Although they are quite similar to the European gypsy moths that can be found in northeastern United States, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), Asian gypsy moths pose greater threats since infestations spread faster and more widely. Further, female European gypsy moths cannot fly whereas Asian gypsy moth females, which can lay hundreds of eggs, can fly for up to 20 miles. Asian gypsy moths are “aggressive” defoliators that can feed on over 500 species of host trees. In the U.S., Washington state has had more Asian gypsy moth introductions than any other state. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Asian gypsy moth poses a serious threat to the country’s landscape and natural resources if they become established in the country…

Science, May 7, 2020: Tree planting is not a simple solution

A plethora of articles suggest that tree planting can overcome a host of environmental problems, including climate change, water shortages, and the sixth mass extinction. Business leaders and politicians have jumped on the tree-planting bandwagon, and numerous nonprofit organizations and governments worldwide have started initiatives to plant billions or even trillions of trees for a host of social, ecological, and aesthetic reasons. Well-planned tree-planting projects are an important component of global efforts to improve ecological and human well-being. But tree planting becomes problematic when it is promoted as a simple, silver bullet solution and overshadows other actions that have greater potential for addressing the drivers of specific environmental problems, such as taking bold and rapid steps to reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. These ambitious tree-planting efforts (examples in supplementary table S1) are mostly well intentioned and have numerous potential benefits, such as conserving biodiversity, improving water quality, providing shade in urban areas, and sequestering carbon Nonetheless, the widespread obsession over planting trees can lead to negative consequences, which depend strongly on both how and where trees are planted (see the table)…

Detroit, Michigan, News, May 7, 2020: Bradford pear trees are becoming invasive

It’s the first week in May and in most towns and subdivisions in our part of the state, everywhere you look you see a profusion of white flowers blooming on lollipop-shaped Bradford pear trees. When landscapers and homeowners first started planting them several decades ago, they were kind of exotic and caught your eye. Unfortunately, it’s all you see nowadays. Unimaginative landscape architects and designers incorporate them into their landscape designs without even giving it a second thought. I guess you can’t blame them for doing that since no one complains about it. Instead, people actually prefer the familiar plants. Lazy landscape design will soon be the least of our worries as these alien trees start to escape cultivation and crowd out our beloved native Michigan trees and shrubs. Bradford pears are a cultivated variety of wild pears native to China and neighboring countries. When first introduced, it was thought they were unable to produce viable seeds and would therefore not cause any problems. But something happened along the way and now they’ve found a way to reproduce…

Springfield, Missouri KYTV, May 7, 2020: Tree service company responds to On Your Side Investigation

We have an update to an On Your Side Investigation. You might recall on Tuesday we told you about neighbors outside Rogersville who say they were ripped off by same tree service company at the same time. In mid-April, combined, they paid Joseph Jones with Joseph’s Tree Service more than $10,000 and the jobs are not done. Jones claims it was all a big misunderstanding. He says he normally documents jobs, but he didn’t this time. “When I was over there I didn’t have nothing on me at that time because I was across the street working. I had no paperwork or anything on me,” he said. At each property, homeowners say he didn’t pickup limbs, left a mess and he never returned their calls. He says he was instructed to leave wood for camping at one home. Those homeowners say he was supposed to do a lot more than that. Jones says he didn’t know there was a problem until On Your Side called him. “If I got a phone call from them, I must have been in the middle of something. I had something going on and I forgot. Yes, I should have cleaned it up and I didn’t at first but I do apologize for that,” he said. His business cards read licensed and insured, but as On Your Side discovered, he’s not. “I was in the middle of getting that done and with the COVID-19 thing happened. I tried to contact them and they said I couldn’t get that done until everything opened back up,” he said. On Your Side emailed city officials. They say the office is fully staffed and they’ve been processing and issuing licenses daily. Jones also doesn’t have an International Society of Arboriculture certification. His business card reads he’s a certified arborist. “What happened was I’ve paid those to get made. Those ended up getting made with that on there. I didn’t put that on there,” he said…

CNN, April 27, 2020: Planting trees could help this city prevent 400 premature deaths

Many cities around the world are planting trees as a way to fight climate change. But they might also reduce our risks of dying early. Scientists say these trees, and other ways to green urban areas, could be just as beneficial to our mental and physical health and reduce the risk of premature death. New research has put a number on just how many premature deaths could be prevented in one US city if it were to increase tree cover from 20% to 30% within five years. Philadelphia, America’s fifth-largest city, could help as many as 403 adults a year live longer if it meets its existing target, according to a study published Monday in the journal Lancet Planetary Health. The city’s efforts could also yield a nearly $4 billion estimated annual economic benefit. The authors said there’s no reason that other cities, particularly ones in climates similar to Philadelphia, shouldn’t benefit to the same extent. “Although every city has its own characteristics, this study provides an example for all the cities in the world: Many lives can be saved by increasing trees and greening urban environments, even at modest levels,” said Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, the study coordinator and director of the environment and health initiative at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). “What’s more, green spaces increase biodiversity and reduce the impact of climate change, making our cities more sustainable and more livable…”

Prince George, British Columbia, Citizen, April 27, 2020: Trees harvested for biomass energy under scrutiny

One of the more contentious sources of renewable energy is biomass – burning wood pellets instead of coal or natural gas to generate heat or electricity. The controversy could grow in B.C, as wood pellet producers appear to be resorting to using more live whole trees to produce wood pellets for export, as opposed to just wood waste. Two B.C. wood pellet producers – Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. (TSX:PL) and Pacific BioEnergy – are being singled out by Stand.earth in a new report that suggests that the companies are now using what appears to be live, whole trees. “Wood pellets are obviously the worst and lowest use of our last primary forests in the interior,” said Michelle Connolly, director of Conservation North, which has documented the use of whole trees at B.C. pellet plants. “The B.C. government assured us that green trees would not be used in pellet plants, and clearly that’s not true… The BC government has sold wood pellet exports as an opportunity to make use of waste, such as sawdust and slash piles,” the Stand.earth report states. “Using photos and satellite imagery of both of British Columbia’s biggest pellet companies, Pacific BioEnergy and Pinnacle Renewable Energy, this investigation reveals with absolute certainty that wood pellets are being made from whole trees in British Columbia…”

Phys.org, April 28, 2020: UAE wages war on tiny scourge threatening date palms

Said Al-Ajani looks proudly over his lush date plantation, which recently survived a plague of red weevils—a destructive insect wreaking havoc across the Middle East and North Africa. “For 24 years, we cultivated our land normally. Then, we had to start spraying five to six times a year against the weevil,” said the 60-year-old Emirati, wearing traditional robes with a red and white checkered keffiyeh. In Wiqan, located in the United Arab Emirates but nestled against the border with Oman, he settles down on a carpet rolled out on the ground in the midst of his six-hectare plantation, to share lunch with his relatives and neighbors. Fittingly, the meal served under the spreading palm fronds will end with succulent dates to accompany the coffee. In the Arab world—and particularly during the holy month of Ramadan—the date is more than a fruit, it is a symbol of prosperity and hospitality, and it has played an important role in the development of nations carved out of these hot and arid regions…

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette, April 27, 2020: Count your blessings, and count your valuable trees

I’ve heard so many people talk about how fortunate they are to live in an area where we can get outside for a dose of sunshine and fresh air. Naturally trees are a big part of our walks or our views from inside apartments or homes. Some trees stand out more than others, and they are usually large, mature trees that provide shade, food and home for squirrels, habitat for birds and pollinators, and for us humans, often an emotional connection. “I’ll chain myself to that tree before I let it be cut down,” commented a neighborhood resident when a beloved street tree was threatened. Her attachment comes from the simple act of walking past it and observing its beauty and all the critters who call it home. Understandably, after tornadoes or hurricanes, trees are often mentioned early in the recovery process as a point of great loss. It is tough to social distance and not gather in large groups. We’ve all had to get creative with celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, replacing group plantings with webinars and tree hugging social media campaigns. Some households will be planting in their backyards or other special spots. We are all planning to invest in more trees and nearby nature. Regardless of economics, every neighborhood deserves beautiful trees lining the streets and nearby nature in parks and public spaces…

Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal, April 24, 2020: Tree canopy ordinance finally clears Metro Council, along with rental help, city borrowing

Long-awaited changes to Louisville’s tree policies for private property, intended to boost the city’s tree canopy and cut back on losses, were approved Thursday by Louisville Metro Council after months of discussion. Council members said the legislation represented a “good balance” between the need to preserve trees and improve the city’s so-called urban heat island, while promoting the growth Jefferson County wants to see. “This is not perfect, but I think it’s a substantial improvement over our existing ordinances,” said Councilman Bill Hollander, D-9th District, one of the lead sponsors. “For years now, we have known of our shrinking tree canopy and the heat island that is associated with it, and the very, very adverse health issues that are associated with the urban heat island.” Louisville’s tree canopy is estimated by researchers to provide roughly $330 million in benefits each year by collecting stormwater, creating cost-saving shade and mitigating ozone pollution, in addition to providing health benefits like reduced rates of asthma…

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Patriot News, April 24, 2020: Add a tree, pick wisely, and plant it the right way

The loss of so many of our ash trees lately brings home the message why it’s so important that we don’t overplant the same few species.The emerald ash borer has wiped out millions of ash trees in parks, streets, and yards in 35 U.S. states in the last dozen years, bringing to mind the 1950s catastrophe when America lost a huge part of its tree canopy when Dutch elm disease killed the many elms that were a dominant street tree then. Diversity is the best way to limit losses when a new threat comes along. Most of the time, a bug or disease attacks only a particular species or family. When we plant many different kinds of trees and plants, we hedge our vulnerability. Illinois’ Morton Arboretum, one of the nation’s leading tree display and research sites, advises that when planning a new tree, look around the neighborhood and purposely don’t plant what everyone else has. The good news is that we have a lot of excellent, under-used trees to pick from that are likely to do well in Pennsylvania’s soils and climate. Just because a species isn’t often used doesn’t mean it’s no good…

Richmond, Virginia, WWBT-TV, April 25, 2020: Tree service companies urge safety when cleaning up after storms

After severe storms swept through parts of Chesterfield County Friday, many homeowners with more time on their hands amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are taking care of duties usually left to professionals, but Tree removal companies are urging people not to take on more than they can handle especially when it comes to power tools like chainsaws. “90 percent of chainsaw injuries occur to the hands and to the legs less than 10 percent occur to the head and neck although they are far more lethal,” said Timothy Nunnally. “You have to keep in mind that when you’re cutting wood that’s on the ground it is dynamic, so as you’re cutting it the weight distribution of that limb or that log is changing, so it’s moving as you’re cutting it so it’s not hard to get your saw stuck, and you can break the equipment trying to free it.” Nunnally owns and operate Nunnally’s Tree Service Inc. in Chesterfield he says it’s very easy for people not used to operating chainsaws to harms themselves cutting a fallen tree or make a fallen tree more hazardous when trying to remove it. He says that kickback can occur from a chainsaw when the centrifugal force of the saw violently forces the bar upwards towards your head and neck. “Particularly with uprooted trees, people will try to cut the tree up from the top back towards the root-ball and sometimes the tree can actually stand back up and create a brand new hazard that wasn’t present when they started,” Nunnally said. “If you know what to do you start at the root ball end to cut the root-ball free however that is very dangerous, so the best case scenario is just call a professional to help you out…”

Forbes, April 26, 2020: Using Trees To Build A Better World

I worked in Hawaii for five years for a man who owned plantation forests. Inevitably, I ran into people who complained when it was time to harvest these forests. They simply didn’t distinguish between tree farming and clear-cutting of old growth forests. To them, cutting down trees was bad. Period. I thought of this last week when I watched Michael Moore’s new documentary Planet of the Humans. The film has some environmentalists agitated because they charge that there is a lot of misinformation in the film. As an aside, I agree that there are a lot of things wrong with the film, but the fact that Gasland’s writer and director Josh Fox is trying to get the film banned because — in his own words — it is “riddled with falsehoods and misinformation”, is textbook irony. As fellow Forbes contributor Michael Shellenberger correctly notes, Gasland itself is riddled with falsehoods and misinformation. But I digress. Planet of the Humans is extremely critical of using biomass like trees to produce power. They treat the idea of burning trees for power as an environmental abomination. Certainly, the burning of trees can be bad, but one can’t treat that as a universal truth. You wouldn’t make a blanket statement that all drugs are bad, just because some people abuse drugs…

CNN, April 24, 2020: What is Arbor Day? The meaning behind the tree holiday

Today is National Arbor Day, which people celebrate by planting elms, oaks, pines and basically any type of tree they can get their hands on. Here’s a brief look at how this day of tree appreciation came to be. The Latin word for tree is arbor. True to its name, Arbor Day celebrates the preservation and planting of trees. Nebraska was the first state in the US to observe it as a formal holiday in 1872. However, the Arbor Day Foundation says “tree planting festivals are as old as civilization.” In 1872, Julius Sterling Morton, a newspaper editor and former US secretary of agriculture, submitted a resolution to Nebraska’s State Board of Agriculture to set aside one day dedicated to planting trees. After the board passed the resolution, more than one million trees were planted on the first official celebration of the day on April 10, 1872. In 1885, Nebraska moved the holiday to April 22 in honor of Morton’s birthday. The event eventually spread to all 50 states and other countries, including Australia, Brazil and Canada. In 1972, former President Richard Nixon declared National Arbor Day to be celebrated on the last Friday in April. However, some states have designated different dates to ensure the trees are planted at the best time for growth. “The planting of trees is an action that yields a long-range benefit on generations to come,” Nixon, who created the Environmental Protection Agency, wrote in his proclamation. “Arbor Day uniquely symbolizes the truth that the earth belongs to every generation, not just ours…”

Nashville, Tennessee, Tennessean, April 23, 2020: Nashville’s cherry trees survived the NFL draft, but face a rocky 2020 like all of us

For one, brief moment in the spring of 2019, all eyes turned to the Nashville riverfront. This was before the stages went up, before the stars and the crowds and the music and the party. The day the cherry trees came down, Nashville watched. Almost overnight, conversations about the NFL Draft, an enormous shindig that took over both sides of the Cumberland downtown from Lower Broadway to Nissan Stadium, turned to the fate of a row of unassuming cherry blossom trees. More than 20 of the trees in Riverfront Park would need to be removed and mulched to make space for temporary structures related to the draft. The news caused an uproar, drawing protesters to city hall and a petition signed by thousands. Then-Mayor David Briley eventually informed the NFL and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. that they would have to remove the trees intact and replant them elsewhere in the city. Randall Lantz, who works for the city’s parks and recreation department in landscaping and horticulture, became “the cherry blossom guy,” he said, trusted by the community to take care of the decorative trees. And he did. In the end, plans were adjusted so only 10 trees need to be moved, and each survived its first year, Lantz said. But the spring of 2020 has brought its own challenges for Nashville’s trees — cherry or otherwise…

BBC, April 23, 2020: Volcanic time-bomb threatens nearby trees

A reduced ability to absorb essential nutrients from the soil and lower rates of turning sunshine into sugar hampered the trees’ growth. A team of researchers also found that toxins released by eruptions continued to limit the trees’ growth. The findings appear in the journal Dendrochronologia. The team said that the widespread impact of volcanic eruptions on trees had been well documented, such as the “year without a summer” in 1816, following the massive Tambora eruption in Indonesia in the previous year, which was deemed to be the biggest volcanic eruption in human history. However, they added, there was little known about the effect eruptions had on surviving trees near to volcanoes. Certain things had been observed, such as damage to the tree’s branches, dust covering the foliage reducing the trees ability to photosynthesize and grow. But few studies had been carried out and meaningful data collated. The team of Spanish and Mexican scientists decided to assess the effects of eruptions on a volcano in central Mexico, which had become active again at the turn of the millennium…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, April 23, 2020: Avoid mulching mistakes and better care for your trees

In a week that features both Earth Day and Arbor Day, the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District is launching a program aimed at ending poor mulching and planting practices. “Let the Flare See the Air” will enlist members of the public in identifying tree care blunders. The flare is the area of the tree where roots begin to emerge from the trunk. Amy Roskilly, conservation education and communications manager for the district, says she hopes to have “extra eyes out there telling me where these improperly planted trees are.” After spotting tree care issues, volunteers need only complete a simple Google form with observations and a location. If an address cannot be determined, a nearby intersection or property description will suffice. In addition, photos of the struggling trees can be sent to aroskilly@cuyahogaswcd.org. The district page also features an informative video and images, as well as links to websites with descriptions of proper planting and mulching techniques and methods for remedying existing problems. The identities of volunteers will not be provided to property owners. “We don’t want to out anybody,” notes Roskilly…

Atlanta, Georgia, Journal Constitution, April 22, 2020: How to know whether your tree will fall during a bad storm

Trees provide many benefits, but during Georgia storms, they can fall and create a dangerous situation. With more storms expected this week, it’s crucial for residents to keep an eye out for falling trees. The following guide will help you keep your trees from falling (when possible) and know what to do if it does happen. Trees can fall during storms for a variety of reasons, including: Winds can uproot a tree, with the tree trunk acting as a lever. This is a greater problem for tall trees, because the force that’s applied to the roots and trunk is greater as the tree’s height increases, according to Scientific American. This can also happen if a tree was previously in a more forested area, protected by other trees that have since been cut down (to create a new housing lot, for example). When the ground becomes saturated from large amounts of rain, trees can topple more easily. The more wet the ground is, the less wind it will take to make it fall. During an ice storm, the weight of ice can increase the weight of branches by 30 times. Lightning strikes can cause a tree to fall or weaken it so it’s more vulnerable in future storms…

Atlanta, Georgia, Northside Neighbor, April 22, 2020: Report: Atlanta has misappropriated $3.3M from its tree trust fund

A report by The Tree Next Door states the city of Atlanta has misappropriated $3.3 million from the tree trust fund over a 10-year period. The Tree Next Door is an organization that aims to protect Atlanta’s tree canopy by advocating for a strong tree ordinance and educating the community about their rights and responsibilities under the law, according to its website. The report, released April 20, also states the tree trust fund earned interest that was diverted to another citywide fund consisting of several other trust funds, a total of $500,000 just in the past five years. It also states there was no oversight or accountability into the management of the tree trust fund. According to the report, between 2009 and 2019, more than $3.3 million went to salaries and benefits for employees the tree trust fund is not supposed to cover with $2.4 million misappropriated by the department of city planning and $900,000 by the department of parks and recreation. “As outlined in the Atlanta tree protection ordinance, most of these funds are intended for planting trees and buying forested land,” the report stated. “Some exceptions exist, such as expenses of the tree conservation commission and specific salaries in both the arborist division and the parks department…”

Provo, Utah, Daily Herald, April 22, 2020: Improve fruit tree production

Due to the early and hard freeze last October, many leaves on trees did not have a chance to evacuate the sugars, nutrients, from their leaves and send it to their trunks to store for this spring. That is why many leaves did not change colors and continued to hang on the tree all winter. As a result, all those fruit trees will be short the amount of nutrients needed for this year’s leaves and buds, which means tree leaves and buds will be small and in some cases will not produce any fruit. To compensate, Mann suggests spraying with a fruit foliar as soon as leaves appear. Foliar should be sprayed at least twice about 10 days a part ensuring the spray is applied to the underside of the leaves. The top of the leaves is mostly for protection of the leaf and the underside is where the nutrients will enter the leaves increasing the size of the leaf and buds, providing a larger surface for photosynthesis to bring nutrients from the roots. Although it is advised to fertilize at least three times a year, the foliar spray is about nine-10 times more effective than fertilizing around the base of the tree and should be done this year. One of the common problems Mann discovered in Sanpete County is that many of the fruit trees are hardly ever fertilized which results in small fruit and can also cause fruit to prematurely drop to the ground for lack of nutrients. For that reason, good fruit requires yearly fertilization. It is a common practice among most orchardists to fertilize at least three times per year…

Phys.org, April 22, 2020: A tree-mendous study: Biomass from forest restoration

The United States is made up of more than 2 billion acres of land—nearly 750 million of which represent forest lands. These woodlands—thick with fragrant trees and foliage—are havens for campers and wildlife. But for many years, land management and wildfire suppression practices have resulted in more trees than occur under natural conditions. These thick masses of trees, while creating a peaceful environment, serve as fuel for devastating wildfires caused by sources such as lightning strikes and human carelessness. To reduce wildfire risk, organizations that oversee the nation’s forests, such as the U.S. Forest Service, conduct forest restoration activities such as selective timber harvesting and thinning. In a handful of states in the western U.S. alone, forest restoration activities have the potential to produce 0.6 to 2.1 billion dry tons of biomass in the form of residues and small-diameter trees that can be converted to heat sources for homes and businesses or biofuels that power cars, trucks, and airplanes. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to help organizations evaluate how to easily and quickly prioritize restoration efforts, which are often affected on a wide scale by air quality standards and limited budgets…

Vancouver, British Columbia, Sun, April 21, 2020: This year’s tree-planting seedlings could end up in a huge compost pile

For B.C.’s tree-planting industry, COVID-19’s arrival came at the worst of times. This year was to be the industry’s great leap forward, the biggest season on record with more than 300 million seedlings slated to be planted. But while the industry managed to get the provincial government to declare “reforestation” an essential service, it may not be enough to prevent many of those seedlings from becoming one of the biggest compost piles in history. At the industry’s urging, in late March B.C.’s chief forester Diane Nicholls delayed the start of the planting season in the interior of the province until early May. The industry, rural communities, First Nations and the province must now decide if it is even possible or desirable to put 5,000 planters on the ground in the Interior where three-quarters of all trees are scheduled for planting. First Nations communities in particular cannot afford to have the virus show up. Many are isolated without access to adequate health care, have crowded housing conditions, and have elders who may be their community’s only Indigenous language speakers…

National Interest, April 22, 2020: Cities of the Future Will Need A Lot of Trees

The 21st century is the urban century. It has been forecast that urban areas across the world will have expanded by more than 2.5 billion people by 2050. The scale and speed of urbanisation has created significant environmental and health problems for urban dwellers. These problems are often made worse by a lack of contact with the natural world. With research group the Tree Urbanistas, I have been considering and debating how to solve these problems. By 2119, it is only through re-establishing contact with the natural world, particularly trees, that cities will be able to function, be viable and able to support their populations. The creation of urban forests will make cities worth living in, able to function and support their populations: Treetopias. This re-design will include the planting of many more urban trees and other vegetation – and making use of new, more creative methods. Although we didn’t fully realise it at the time, the 1986 Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna, a building that incorporated 200 trees in its design, was the start of more creative urban forestry thinking…

Galveston, Texas, Daily News, April 21, 2020: Tree shade can cause problems with lawn growth

I commonly hear from gardeners who complain that grass won’t grow under a tree no matter what they do. When I mention that the shade created by the tree is the likely problem, the standard response is that grass always grew there before. What they likely do not realize is that as trees grow, shade created by a tree increases from year to year. Here’s a basic lesson in horticulture: shade trees grow up to do exactly what they were planted to do — create shade. Eventually, areas where grass had always grown well before will no longer receive sufficient sunlight for lawn grass to grow. Bare areas occur under and around trees because conditions eventually become too shady for grass to thrive there. Eventually, even an area where grass has always grown well before will no longer get enough sun. If you are trying to deal with this sort of situation, here are some things you can do. The amount of sunlight reaching the turf can be increased by selectively pruning trees in your landscape. The lower branches and some of the inner branches may be pruned to allow more light to reach the lawn below. Keep in mind that raising and thinning the canopy on older, mature trees is often done best by a professional arborist who can determine which branches should be removed without adversely affecting the tree…

Monroe, Louisiana, News Star, April 21, 2020: Men stole from home of tornado victim after cutting trees: WMPD

Two West Monroe men are facing charges after they allegedly burglarized a house after removing storm debris. According to arrest reports, a police officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Riverbend on the burglary call. A neighbor said he saw two white men driving a black Ford truck enter the home and exit with TVs. They then left at a high rate of speed. The witness recognized the men as two people who were at the home the day before cutting trees. The landlord for the property told West Monroe Police officers he paid John Hummel, age 28, and Roy Knight, age 49, to clean up the home and board it up for the resident. The victim later contacted the WMPD and said she was missing multiple TVs, gaming consoles and jewelry…

Eugene, Oregon, Register-Guard, April 20, 2020: Protesters, tree sitter gather to oppose construction of Eugene apartment complex

About 40 protesters — one sitting in a tree — gathered Monday morning outside Maurie Jacobs Park in opposition to planned apartment construction on the south end of River Road, just north of the park along the Willamette River. For years, people living in that neighborhood have opposed the construction by Seattle-based Evergreen Housing Development Group of a 94-unit, three-story apartment complex being called the Lombard Apartments project. The market-rate apartments, neighbors believe, will bring too much traffic to the neighborhood and ruin a usable, tree-populated green space in the city. The protests coalesced around the overnight arrival of a tree sitter in a maple on the edge of the 3.5-acre site who called himself “Scrimshaw” and said he was there for the same reason as others gathered around the tree Monday. Evergreen Housing Development Group called Eugene police when they learned the protesters were on its property, according to Andrew Brand, the company’s executive director of real estate. Eugene police asked “Scrimshaw” to leave but the tree-sitter refused, said spokesperson Melinda McLaughlin. If Evergreen Housing Development Group submits a trespass letter of consent, Eugene police will be authorized to remove him from the property…

Atlanta, Georgia, Saporta Report, April 20, 2020: Trees and seedlings come up $3.4 million short in Atlanta spending, say advocates

Atlanta tree advocates say the city spent $3.4 million in the last decade on salaries that should have been spent on planting trees and buying forested land. The figure comes from a report put together for The Tree Next Door, an Atlanta advocacy group, and it draws on legal and accounting experts and data obtained from the city via open record requests. The group commissioned the report because they say the public figures on the city’s tree trust fund have long been unclear. Money goes into the fund from developers and residents who cut down trees. And except for some allowed overhead on things like salaries and education, the cash should come out on seedlings and forested land. Tree spending has come up at the public meetings that have been going on about rewriting the city’s tree ordinance — and possibly hiking the price of cutting down Atlanta trees. “And the questions came not only from activists, but also from developers,” said Stephanie Coffin, a founder of The Tree Next Door. The city’s tree trust fund comes to about $14 million. The city can spend up to $445,000 of that on salaries in the departments of planning and parks per year, according to The Tree Next Door’s reading of city ordinance. But they say they’ve found more like $800,000 on salary spending in recent years and varying amounts before that…

Cheyenne, Wyoming, Wyoming News Now, April 20, 2020: City of Cheyenne Urban Forestry Division’s Tips on Spruce Tree Maintenance

The City of Cheyenne Urban Forestry Division is going to be going around town spraying spruce trees in order to prevent ips Beetle infestation. They said Cheyenne has experienced an ips beetle epidemic for the past few years. According to the urban forestry division, spruce trees are the second most common trees in Cheyenne, behind cottonwood. Ips beetles’ spreads into two generations. The first generation mature through the winter under the bark, then they emerge and fly and re-infest beetles in the spring. Then they mature throughout the summer and fly again in July or August. The urban forestry division wants to spray the stem in the larger branches before they fly, so that when the beetles hit a new tree, the insecticide will kill them. Here’s some tips on preventing beetle infestation: 1) Identify that you have a spruce tree. Most evergreens with a pure middle shape along with small sharp needles and 2-4-inch cones, are spruce trees. 2) Consider having an arborist spray the tree for you. If one owns a large spruce tree, the forestry division recommends hiring a licensed arborist to spray the tree. “Spraying a large spruce tree is very difficult work,” City forester, Mark Ellison said. “They have to get the spray the top of the tree because the beetle typically attacks the top first, then works its way down…”

Atlanta, Georgia, WSB-TV, April 20, 2020: The reason why trees fall may not be what you think

We’re now entering the peak of severe weather season in Georgia. We’ve already seen a breakout of severe storms earlier this month, and there are sure to be more later this spring. One of the biggest impacts of severe storms always seems to be downed trees. There’s always a concern about wind, but rain and soil also play big parts in why trees fall. We learned there are three factors that cause them to fall: The first is people: Construction can weaken tree roots. Once that happens, it’s easier for high wind to blow down a tree. Second is Georgia’s soil: Georgia red clay gets especially slimy in the rain. Again, it doesn’t take much to bring down a tree, in those conditions. Third is drought. When the ground gets especially dry, trees get weak. Add the occasional heavy rain and a strong gust of wind, and a tree can easily fall. It’s a good idea to have your trees checked by an arborist and budget for tree care every three to five years…

Victoria, Texas, Advocate, April 18, 2020, 2 years later, poisoned trees remain a mystery at Victoria office building

Eden Yaklin remembers the day she noticed the trees at Heritage Mark had been poisoned. The property manager was taking a routine walk around the office building about two years ago when she smelled something strange near the trees. After investigating more closely, she knew something was wrong: Aside from the smell, the trees had an unusual number of brown leaves and there were circles of dead grass around the trunks. “And when I picked up a handful of soil to smell it, it almost knocked me out,” she said. Seven decades-old live oak trees had been poisoned, and despite efforts to save them, four of the trees died. Though it’s been more than two years, the building’s management doesn’t want the public to forget what happened, Yaklin said. After the incident, Victoria Crime Stoppers got involved, and the building’s owner, Donald Elder, offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever is responsible. Because the culprit has never been found, that offer still stands, Yaklin said. “I find it extremely odd that no one ever came forward,” she said. “We’re still hoping someone will…”

Detroit, Michigan, WXYZ-TV, April 15, 2020: DNR: Michigan oak trees currently at high risk for fungal disease

Those with oak trees, particularly red oaks, should be wary of oak wilt spores carried by flying beetles, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said.From April 15 to July 15, oak trees are at high risk for oak wilt, a serious fungal disease that can weaken white oaks and kill red oak trees within a few weeks of infection. “The guidelines against pruning oak trees during this period are a way to help prevent the spread of the disease,” said James Wieferich, forest health specialist in the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “Unfortunately, many people learn not to prune or otherwise wound trees from mid-April to mid-July only after they lose their oaks to oak wilt.” Once a tree is infected, the fungus can also move to neighboring red oaks through root grafts. Oaks within about 100 feet of each other, depending on the size of the trees, have connected root systems, the DNR said. Left untreated, oak wilt will continue to move from tree to tree, killing more red oaks. As more trees die, more fungal spores are produced, which allows the beetle to carry infection to new locations…

Dailyo, April 20, 2020: How misinformation and rumours made Russian poplar trees surprise victims of Covid-19 in Kashmir

The female variety of Russian poplar trees has turned out to be the surprise victim of Covid-19 in Kashmir. Over the past 15 days, thousands of poplar trees, also known as Russian poplar, have been axed in the Valley over fears that the pollen generated by them can act as a carrier of coronavirus. As fears over the Covid-19 pandemic mounted in Kashmir Valley, the government ordered the axing of poplar trees. The government order on the subject, issued April 2, stated, “A meeting held under the chairmanship of Pandurang K Pole, IAS, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir on April 2, 2020, to discuss the pollen-related infections in the wake of already spread of Covid-19 [sic] to work out the strategy and measures to get rid of this menace before the onset of flowering season Female Russian Poplar trees 42,000 trees need to be felled down in order to get rid of the menace of the pollen-bearing by this specie.” According to press statements issued by the Department of Information and Public Relations, deputy commissioners of various districts in the Valley ordered the axing of poplars. The fear of coronavirus runs so deep that over the past two weeks, Kashmiris employed labourers to cut down trees worth lakhs of rupees. Kashmir is home to about 20 million poplar trees. In 2015, the poplars were axed in large numbers over fears that their pollen causes respiratory ailments. Botanists in the region have repeatedly stated that the poplar trees do not trigger respiratory ailments and that it is wrong to link them to the transmission of Covid-19. The indiscriminate felling that started about a fortnight ago stopped after the Jammu and Kashmir High Court stayed the government order to cut the female poplar trees. The High Court has directed the Chief Secretary to constitute a committee to examine the matter within four days. The court has directed that the panel must include experts on trees, medicine, respiratory diseases and other subjects relevant to the issue…

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar Wednesday, April 22 at noon about the importance of including trees in Iowa’s water quality

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar Wednesday, April 22 at noon about the importance of including trees in Iowa’s water quality conversation. Billy Beck, assistant professor and extension forestry specialist at Iowa State University, will discuss the benefits that trees, forests and forestry provide for both water quality and on-farm income, as well as resources and techniques landowners may utilize to achieve successful on-the-ground projects. “Trees represent powerful resources that are often underutilized and undervalued by agricultural landowners,” said Beck, whose research and extension programming focuses on the impacts that trees, woodlands and forests have on water quality and quantity in the Midwest. This webinar will also present results from the recent “Forests and Water Quality Summit”—including a vision for the role of forestry in Iowa’s water quality efforts. To participate, shortly before noon on April 22, click the following URL or type it into your browser: https://iastate.zoom.us/j/364284172. Or, go to https://iastate.zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID: 364 284 172. Or, join from a dial-in phone line by dialing: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923; meeting ID: 364 284 172. The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. Archived webinars are available…

Yahoo.com, April 16, 2020: In the redwoods, logging and tree sitting continue, even as the pandemic shuts mills

The coronavirus has shut down most of Humboldt County, as it has the rest of the state, but some traditions of northwest California endure: Loggers keep felling redwoods, and eco-activists keep putting their bodies on the limbs to stop them. Thirty miles north of Eureka, in a coastal forest just east of Highway 101, a generation-old battle between tree sitters and loggers enters a new chapter, even after local sawmills have closed. Just off the highway in the town of Trinidad sits an old logging trail on property now owned by the Green Diamond Resource Co., a forest products firm. From the trailhead, after a 20-minute hike through the dark, lush forest, one encounters a 13.5-acre clearing where hundreds of felled redwoods, firs and pine trees litter the ground. Tree stumps, broken branches, and a few sun-blotched, withered ferns poke through the debris. It’s here, at the eastern edge of the clearing, that a group of young, masked activists are engaged in a different form of social distancing. They are taking turns sleeping in the upper reaches of a giant redwood tree. They are environmental activists working with an organization known as the Redwood Forest Defenders. And they are trying to stop Green Diamond from felling any more trees on this roughly 18-acre tract…

San Diego, California, Union Tribune, April 16, 2020: Citrus tree HLB disease found close to San Diego

While Huanglongbing (HLB) — a deadly citrus tree disease — has yet to be detected in San Diego, the proximity to nearby detections in Orange County and parts of Mexico means citrus trees in San Diego are at risk. It is now more important than ever for San Diegans to stay vigilant and inspect citrus trees for HLB if we want to preserve backyard and commercial citrus in the county. HLB is a bacterial disease that affects the vascular system of citrus trees and plants. While not harmful to humans, the disease slowly kills citrus trees. A small insect called the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) can spread the bacteria that causes HLB as it feeds on citrus tree leaves. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure. The tree will begin to produce rancid-tasting fruit and eventually die, while putting neighboring trees at risk of the disease as it can be spread from tree to tree by ACP. HLB affects all types and varieties of citrus trees, and even some non-citrus host plants like curry…

Kensington, Maryland, Associated Press, April 16, 2020: Study: US West’s megadrought turning into the worst in 1,200 years

A two-decade-long dry spell that has parched much of the western United States is turning into one of the deepest megadroughts in the region in more than 1,200 years, a new study found. And about half of this historic drought can be blamed on man-made global warming, according to a study in Thursday’s journal Science. Scientists looked at a nine-state area from Oregon and Wyoming down through California and New Mexico, plus a sliver of southwestern Montana and parts of northern Mexico. They used thousands of tree rings to compare a drought that started in 2000 and is still going — despite a wet 2019 — to four past megadroughts since the year 800. With soil moisture as the key measurement, they found only one other drought that was as big and was likely slightly bigger. That one started in 1575, just 10 years after St. Augustine, the first European city in the United States, was founded, and that drought ended before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620. What’s happening now is “a drought bigger than what modern society has seen,” said study lead author A. Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University. Daniel Swain, a UCLA climate scientist who wasn’t part of the study, called the research important because it provides evidence “that human-caused climate change transformed what might have otherwise been a moderate long-term drought into a severe event comparable to the ‘megadroughts’ of centuries past.” What’s happening is that a natural but moderate drought is being worsened by temperatures that are 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 degrees Celsius) hotter than the past and that suck moisture out of the ground, Williams said. It’s much like how clothes and plants dry faster in the warmth of indoors than they do outside, he said…

CNBC, April 17, 2020: How the mass planting of trees could transform our cities and tackle air pollution

Hubs of culture, politics and finance, the cities many of us call home can, at times, be hard to live in. The challenges of an urban environment often include overcrowding, a high cost of living and air pollution. The latter is a serious issue that can affect us all: according to the World Health Organization, it’s estimated that air pollution kills 7 million people each year, with 9 out of 10 people breathing air which contains “high levels of pollutants.” One solution to help tackle the problem of air pollution could be increasing the number of trees and green spaces within urban areas, according to experts. As well as being aesthetically pleasing – the sight of branches covered in blossom can lift even the gloomiest of moods — trees can offer a range of benefits. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, for instance, has stated that one tree can absorb as much as 150 kilograms of carbon dioxide annually. It has also described “large urban trees” as being “excellent filters for urban pollutants and fine particulates.” A number of cities are now making concerted efforts to improve green spaces and boost the number of trees on their streets and in parks…

Phoenix, Arizona, Republic, April 15, 2020: As disease threatens citrus trees, researchers target the insects that are spreading it

In the next few months, James Truman will be planting over 400 new citrus trees on his farm in Surprise. Many of the trees on his farm are puny things. As he strides among them to check for signs of stress, the 6-foot-3 farmer towers over each tree, each one a skinny bundle of branches and leaves supported by stakes in the ground. It will take several years before they mature into fruit-bearing trees and 20 years for them to reach full fruit production. “You lose a lot every time you lose a tree so if you have a disease come in and stun a bunch of trees in your operation …. it could be quite devastating,” Truman said. Truman is worried about the risk of one disease in particular: citrus greening disease. It’s fast-spreading, hard to detect, and lethal for trees. “Once you have it,” Truman said, “you’re screwed.” The disease has already decimated citrus groves in the other major citrus-producing states of Florida, California and Texas. According to John Caravetta, the associate director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, the disease has also spread to Mexico. “We’re surrounded,” he said…

Phys.org, April 15, 2020: Mahogany tree family dates back to last hurrah of the dinosaurs

You might own something made from mahogany like furniture, paneling or a musical instrument. Mahogany is a commercially important wood, valued for its hardness and beauty. The United States is the world’s top importer of the tropical timber from leading producers like Peru and Brazil. Unfortunately, mahogany is harvested illegally a lot of the time. For science, mahogany is important, too—the fossil presence of the mahogany family is a telltale of where tropical forests once stood. Until recently, paleobotanists had only found evidence the mahogany family extended back to the Paleocene (about 60 million years ago). Now, a new paper written by University of Kansas researcher Brian Atkinson in the American Journal of Botany shows the mahogany family goes back millions of years more, to the last hurrah of the dinosaurs, the Cretaceous. “For understanding when many of the different branches of the tree of life evolved, we’re primarily dependent on the fossil record,” said Atkinson, an assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and curator in the Biodiversity Institute’s Division of Paleobotany. “In this case, Meliaceae, the mahogany family, is an ecologically and economically important group of trees. A lot of researchers have used this group as a study system to better understand the evolution of tropical rainforests. This work is the first definitive evidence that the tropically important trees were around during the Cretaceous period, when we first start to see the modernization of ecosystems and modern groups of plants…”

Atlanta, Georgia, WSB-TV, April 15, 2020: Here’s how you can protect your home from falling trees

Trees make the metro Atlanta area beautiful, but when it comes to storms, our trees put many of our homes and businesses at risk of damage when they fall. Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Eboni Deon learned how you can protect your home. “We have a lot more chance of tree failure when they’re fully leafed-out than when they’re not because of the wind mast,” Bryant said. “Why does the ship sail? Because the wind catches the sail.” Bryant said any tree has the potential to fail depending on the strength of the wind. “It is so important to have your trees checked out by an arborist, especially if you live around mature hardwoods,” Bryant said. The heavier the tree, the more damage it will do. “The further away it is from your house, the more momentum the canopy can build as it comes down and do more damage,” Bryant said. There are usually indications a tree could come down. If it has been partially uprooted, there will be evidence…

Phys.org, April 15, 2020: Ash dieback is less severe in isolated ash trees

New research published in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Ecology finds that ash dieback is far less severe in the isolated conditions ash is often found in, such as forests with low ash density or in open canopies like hedges, suggesting the long term impact of the disease on Europe’s ash trees will be more limited than previously thought. The research looked at a 22km2 area in North-eastern France, where ash dieback was first observed in 2010. Although the environment had little impact on the initial spread of the disease, the researchers found that after ten years, the disease remained mild in many places. “We found that the disease had spread to virtually all ash present in the studied landscape within two years. Nevertheless, in many areas ash trees remained relatively healthy” said lead author of the study Dr. Benoit Marçais, French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE). “The view that only the most resistant part of the ash population, just a few percent of the individuals, will survive the ash dieback pandemic is wrong. We see that in many environments not favourable to ash dieback, the proportion of ash that remain heathy is closer to 80-95% than to 5%, although the disease may be locally very severe.” added Dr. Marçais…

Salem, Oregon, Statesman Journal, April 14, 2020: Salem public works hasn’t enforced tree ordinance, costing taxpayers $107,220

City code prohibits anyone from trimming or removing city-owned trees without a permit. It provides for fines of up to $2,000 per occurrence, and requires offenders to also spend the assessed value of the trees on tree restoration. The lack of enforcement came to light following public outcry over the city’s response to the Gatti tree topping. The brothers said they topped the city trees, as well as some of their own, to improve safety and visibility on their property, at Liberty and Commercial streets NE, where they have hosted a huge Christmas light display for decades. Tree topping, also called heading or tipping, is the removal of a majority of a tree’s branches. Experts say trees should never be topped, which removes most of the branches. Richard Gatti said he knew he should have obtained a permit, but believed he was saving the city money by doing the work himself. The city fined the Gattis $3,000, and ordered them to restore the trees, most likely by planting saplings…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, April 14, 2020: Urban tree planting grants now available in Tennessee

Tennessee’s forestry division is now accepting proposals for urban tree planting projects. Local governments, private non-profit organizations, and educational institutions have until June 1 to apply for urban tree planting funds under the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program, a Division of Forestry news release said Tuesday. The program encourages local governments to increase and improve city tree populations. Officials say the program offers cost sharing for tree planting on public property, rights-of-way, and private non-profit land. Program funds cover half the cost of trees and shipping, contracted planting, mulch and other materials, the news release said. Urban forestry funds can also be used for tree planting on private property, but only in areas within a 35-foot (11-meter) zone extending outward from the edge of a river, stream, or creek bank, officials said…

Los Angeles, California, Times, April 15, 2020: 10 pioneer-era apple types thought extinct found in Pacific Northwest

A team of retirees who scour the remote ravines and windswept plains of the Pacific Northwest for long-forgotten pioneer orchards has rediscovered 10 apple varieties that were believed to be extinct — the largest number ever unearthed in a single season by the nonprofit Lost Apple Project. The Vietnam veteran and former FBI agent who make up the nonprofit recently learned of their tally from last fall’s apple sleuthing from expert botanists at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy in Oregon, where all the apples are sent for study and identification. The apples positively identified as previously “lost” were among hundreds of fruits collected in October and November from 140-year-old orchards tucked into small canyons or hidden in forests that have since grown up around them in rural Idaho and Washington state. “It was just one heck of a season,” said EJ Brandt, who hunts for the apples along with fellow amateur botanist David Benscoter. “It was almost unbelievable. If we had found one apple or two apples a year in the past, we thought were were doing good. But we were getting one after another after another. I don’t know how we’re going to keep up with that.” Each fall, Brandt and Benscoter spend countless hours and log hundreds of miles searching for ancient — and often dying — apple trees across the Pacific Northwest by truck, all-terrain vehicle and on foot. They collect hundreds of apples from long-abandoned orchards that they find using old maps, county fair records, newspaper clippings and nursery sales ledgers that can tell them which homesteader bought what apple tree and when the purchase happened…

Reading, Pennsylvania, Eagle, April 15, 2020: What in the blue blazes? A plan to kill spotted lanternflies

Ailanthus Altissima, more commonly known as a tree of heaven, is technically an invasive species. As many of us know, it also happens to be the preferred home of another invasive species, the spotted lanternfly. Recently, someone brought to my attention blue blazes painted on several ailanthus trees on a property where they hunt. This piqued my curiosity. In my hiker mindset, blue blazes mean a spring or overlook, but in this case, clearly, it meant something else. I contacted Evan Corondi from the Berks County Conservation District for some answers. As it turns out, in the ongoing battle to stop the spread of the spotted lanternfly, the conservation district, along with the USDA, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Penn State Extension, have combined efforts to deliver a one-two punch by controlling the bugs and the tree. The control program uses federal funds earmarked for conservation districts to perform such work. The conservation district decided to use the money to aid private landowners by controlling the favored host tree of the spotted lanternfly…

Palm Springs, California, Desert Sun, April 13, 2020: Joshua trees recommended for endangered species listing in California

The Joshua tree — the Southwest’s weird, beloved, iconic plant — took a big step toward heightened legal protection with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recommendation to list it under the state’s Endangered Species Act going public Monday. The decision applies to the western Joshua tree — one of two similar species — and comes in response to a petition that the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental advocacy group, filed in October. Two months before that request was received, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied a similar action under the federal act. “We’re delighted that the department followed the science and the law and recommended that the species advance one step closer to protection,” said Brendan Cummings, who authored the petition in his role as the center’s conservation director. Next, the listing process moves on to the state’s Fish and Game Commission, which is a board appointed by the governor. The commission often follows recommendations given to it by the department and will vote on the matter in June…

Yahoo.com, April 13, 2020: Iceland’s Forest Department Urges People to Hug Trees to Feel ‘Relaxed’ amid Social Distancing

With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pushing multiple nations to undergo lockdown, ‘social distancing’ has become the need of the hour. In such sad times, the Icelandic Forestry Service is asking people to hug trees and plants while maintaining social distance from humans, as reported in Iceland Review. The incident took place at the Hallormsstaður National Forest in East Iceland, where forest rangers are busy cleaning up snow on the roads so that locals can go and hug trees. “When you hug [a tree], you feel it first in your toes, then up your legs and into your chest and eventually up into your head. It is a wonderful feeling of relaxation,” the report quoted forest ranger Þór Þorfinnsson as saying. However, this request comes with a warning to be careful about hugging the same tree. Þorfinnsson urges the locales to walk in the forest and hug different trees rather than holding the first tree they encounter. The forest ranger suggests that hugging a tree for five minutes is enough to start your day on a happy mode. “Five minutes is really good, if you can give yourself five minutes of your day to hug [a tree], that’s definitely enough,” he added…

London, UK, Daily Mail, April 13, 2020: The clump of 33 trees in Alaska that forms ‘America’s smallest national forest’

From a distance it looks like a big bush, but this is actually a clump of trees – and America’s smallest national forest, according to the locals. ‘Adak National Forest’ comprises just 33 trees and you’ll find it – if you are a particularly hardy traveller and don’t mind a bracing gust or two – on the remote Alaskan island of Adak, part of the volcanic Aleutian archipelago. And when we say remote, we mean it – the Google Streetview car has not made it out there. The origins of the bizarre ‘forest’ can be traced back to the Second World War – and the National Forest declaration began as joke, but the title has stuck (though it’s not officially recognised). The first trees at this location were planted on the orders of Brigadier General Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr, who wanted to cheer up his contingent of around 6,000 troops. They were guarding the Alaskan islands against the Japanese and their morale was taking a battering in the brutal conditions – think wind, mud, rain, fog and freezing temperatures. It was decided that some Christmas trees, in particular, would boost spirits, so in 1943 a formal programme of festive pine tree planting began and continued through to 1945, according to Atlas Obscura…

FarmingUK, April 13, 2020: Tree planting could lead to land use and habitat loss, report warns

The Natural Capital Committee (NCC) has published a report on using nature-based interventions to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In particular, the potential for forestry and woodland to absorb carbon has led to a commitment to increase tree planting in England. The Committee on Climate Change recommends a yearly planting rate of 30,000 ha worth of woodland, around 90–120 million trees per year. But while the NCC says trees can deliver habitats for wildlife, recreation and flood storage, they need to be planted in the ‘right place for the right reason’. Increased planting ‘without careful planning’ could lead to the loss of habitats and land uses, including grasslands, heathlands and peatlands, the report said…

Forbes, April 9, 2020: How A Trillion More Trees Could Combat Climate Change

Last month I discussed the announcement by Jeff Bezos, founder, president and CEO of Amazon AMZN — that he would commit $10 billion toward fighting climate change. The money would be used to establish the Bezos Earth Fund, which would “fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.” As I discussed previously, there are two big targets in this fight: Reducing ongoing CO2 emissions, and removing CO2 that is already in the atmosphere. I mentioned the potential for trees as an efficient way of removing atmospheric CO2. Vegetation takes atmospheric CO2 and converts it through photosynthesis into biomass. But it’s a slow process, and it doesn’t permanently sequester the CO2. Eventually most of the biomass once again becomes CO2. I was subsequently contacted by multiple people who wanted to share more information about the potential to use trees for atmospheric carbon sequestration. Today I want to share some thoughts with one of these people. I plan to share more thoughts on this next week. Planting enough trees to make an impact would have to be an extensive effort, but there are already ambitious efforts underway, such as the Trillion Tree Campaign. A massive campaign of tree planting could remove CO2 from the atmosphere and at least bind it up for decades. It’s not a permanent solution, but it buys time. For context, at 200 trees per acre, this would require an estimated 7.8 million square miles, more than double the size of the continental U.S. at 3.1 million square miles. This becomes a challenge considering the competing uses for land around the world…

St. Paul, Minnesota, Pioneer Press, April 11, 2020: Avoid pruning oak trees now to combat oak wilt disease, experts say

Though it’s time for spring yard cleanup, forest health specialists are asking homeowners to avoid pruning or wounding oak trees to prevent oak wilt disease. The spring weather encourages sap-feeding beetles to transmit a fungus that causes oak wilt, said University of Minnesota Extension Specialist Matt Russell. Pruning oak trees attracts the insects to the trees. All oak trees are susceptible, but red oak species like northern red oaks and pin oaks are more vulnerable and can show immediate symptoms, such as rapid wilting of leaves, according to Russell. “Oak wilt is commonly seen in the Twin Cities metro and southeastern Minnesota,” Russell said. “But we’re especially concerned with the disease spreading north and west into Minnesota’s healthy oak forests.” Move any firewood from oaks that may have died from oak wilt to other locations, Russell said. Even if trees have been cut down for firewood, the fungus can survive underneath the bark for several months…

Grand Haven, Michigan, Tribune, April 11, 2020: C3 to launch tree-planting drive

C3 is launching another Earth Day tree planting initiative this year. This year’s recipient is the city of Grand Haven. Last year, the inclusive spiritual community’s Earth Day effort brought 47 new trees to the village of Spring Lake with a donation of $3,180. “The intent is to capture useful carbon from the atmosphere and to reforest and beautify our area by accepting donations from caring individuals for every jet flight they took last year, or plan to take in 2020,” said Ryan Cotton, C3 Earth Day volunteer. The 2020 tree planting program, called “Plant-up and Fly Right,” will officially launch at 10 a.m. Sunday during Kent Dobson’s virtual teachings on the C3 Facebook page. Cotton said the intent is to reforest our communities after recent ash borer devastation, to remove carbon and climate impacts produced by jet planes, and to overall enhance the area’s quality of life. “West Michigan residents can be environmental all year long,” Cotton said. “Yet, just one flight can negate all our environment efforts due to the added carbon in the atmosphere from flying. The remedy is to plant a tree that uses this carbon for the next 15 years, while beautifying where we live at the same time…”

Tampa, Florida, WTSP-TV, April 10, 2020: Stressed out? Go sit under a tree

Studies show that trees make us happy. Walking by, siting by one or even looking at a tree feels good. Whether in a hospital, a front yard or a park, they help calm us down. A major study in the UK followed 10,000 Brits—for 17 years—as they moved around the country. The greener the neighborhood, the happier the people reported they were, no matter how much they made, whether they were married, how healthy they were, or how nice their home was. This comes on top of recent research that says green exercise, or working out outside, is also a significant boost to happiness. Simply getting outside—and moving—for as little as five minutes at a time improved both mood and self-esteem. But trees do even more than that. They can also make you smarter. Marc Berman runs the Environmental Neuroscience Lab, which is interested in how the physical environment affects the brain and behavior. One of his studies sent volunteers on a 50-minute nature walk or a 50-minute city walk. Those who took the nature walk performed about 20 percent better than their counterparts on tests of memory and attention. They also tended to be in a better mood. Trees can you heal you too. In 1984, a researcher named Roger Ulrich noticed something very tree-related among patients recovering from gallbladder surgery in Pennsylvania. Those who had been given rooms overlooking trees were being discharged almost a day sooner, on average, than those in identical rooms that faced a wall…

Fox News, April 9, 2020: Connecticut tree service hangs giant US flag, ‘Thank You’ sign at hospitals during coronavirus fight

It’s a patriotic thank you for health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak in Connecticut — a 50-foot American flag, a 38-ton crane and a homemade “THANK YOU” sign mounted on the back of a pickup truck. “The major point here, I love to be able to get this message out in a positive way and let these medical providers know that we appreciate what they’re doing,” Kyle DeLucia, the founder and CEO of K&J Tree Service, told Fox News. “To show our appreciation, it’s so simple, two words on a sign. It’s so impactful.” Maybe not so simple: Raising the 100-foot-tall crane required coordination with both the hospitals and local police, DeLucia said. And there has to be a crane available, which he said he has because the tree service business is slow, but not completely shut down, amid the outbreak. Within the United States, there have been at least 432,596 confirmed cases of the virus and 15,774 deaths as of Thursday afternoon – placing an enormous toll on medical workers battling it on the front lines in hospitals around the country and in Connecticut…

Phys.org, April 9, 2020: Long-living tropical trees play outsized role in carbon storage

A group of trees that grow fast, live long lives and reproduce slowly account for the bulk of the biomass—and carbon storage—in some tropical rainforests, a team of scientists says in a paper published this week in the journal Science. The finding that these trees, called long-lived pioneers, play a much larger role in carbon storage than previously thought may have implications in efforts to preserve forests as a strategy to fight climate change. “People have been arguing about whether these long-lived pioneers contribute much to carbonstorage over the long term,” said Caroline Farrior, an assistant professor of integrative biology at The University of Texas at Austin and a primary investigator on the study. “We were surprised to find that they do.” It is unclear the extent to which tropical rain forests can help soak up excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere produced by burning fossil fuels. Nonetheless, the new study provides insights about the role of different species of trees in carbon storage. Using more than 30 years’ worth of data collected from a tropical rainforest in Panama, the team has uncovered some key traits of trees that, when integrated into computer models related to climate change, will improve the models’ accuracy. With the team’s improved model, the scientists plan to begin answering questions about what drives forest composition over time and what factors affect carbon storage…

Chico, California, Enterprise-Record, April 9, 2020: Tree removal management contract canceled

The state has canceled a contract to manage the removal of hazardous burned trees in the Camp Fire footprint, further delaying a project that’s already been delayed for months. Cal Recycle, the state agency tasked with overseeing tree and debris removal after the Camp Fire, has canceled the $67.5 million contract it intended to award to Tetra Tech, Inc. to manage the removal of hazard trees from private property near public infrastructure. It was supposed to be the first of several state contracts in the project to remove thousands of burned trees that officials and residents said put rebuilding efforts at risk. The work was delayed, though, as local officials struggled to sign up property owners who had dispersed across the country. Cal Recycle first advertised the contract in November, with a planned start date in January. The contract was never finalized. Contracts for the actual tree removal have not yet been posted, either. Chris McSwain, a spokesman for Cal Recycle, said the decision to cancel the contract and start over was because of “operational efficiency and program management to ensure the most effective tree removal service for Camp Fire survivors”…

Spotsylvania, Virginia Steadfast Tree Care, April 7, 2020: Steadfast Tree Care Spotsylvania Warns Of The Dangers Of Amateur Tree Removal

Tree removal is dangerous and really should be completed by professionals. Homeowners who attempt felling a tree on their own may be injured by the tree, faulty equipment, or falling/flying debris. Some of the common dangers of tree removal include: 1. Decaying wood in a dead (or dying) tree often rots from the inside out, making it difficult to detect and unstable. If you think your tree is rotting, hire a professional to remove it before it falls and causes injury or property damage. 2. Improper equipment use when cutting trees causes unnecessary risk. Tree specialists are trained to use safety equipment and professional tools like chainsaws, ropes and cranes. 3. Gravity can be your worst enemy if you’re not proficient in tree removal. Once a tree starts falling, you have little to no control over it. A professional tree contractor will know how and where to fell it with skilled cuts and/or ropes…

Farm and Dairy, April 9, 2020: Don’t top trees, you’re basically killing them

Topping a tree is an all-too-common practice among homeowners, particularly when their trees become too tall and pose a possible threat to the house or overhead power lines. Some have the trees topped because they believe, or are led to believe, that topping is a good pruning practice. Some situations obviously require the removal of large limbs for the sake of safety. But topping is a drastic step that ultimately endangers the tree’s life. Removing such a great quantity of growth in one shot throws off the roots-to-shoots balance that the tree has gradually developed all those years. The much-reduced leaf surface will not be able to manufacture sufficient food reserves to feed the large root system. As roots starve, the rest of the tree will suffer from insufficient moisture and nutrients. Another drawback to topping for many tree species is the stimulation of numerous, upright branches that grow straight up. These shoots are typically very soft, weak growth that breaks easily and is more susceptible to attack by diseases and insects…

Ottawa, Ontario, Citizen, April 4, 2020: Science of spring: Why trees are the last plants to green up

With people stuck at home and worried about their future, there is no better time to remind ourselves of the wonders of spring. The change of season is all around us with many facets of backyard biology, perhaps even things your kids might want to learn. In today’s Science of Spring, Tom Spears looks at nature’s timetable for greening up. Trees often look as though early spring is passing them by as they stand, grey and leafless, while lawns turn green and early flowers bloom. In fact, the tree is busy during this season, especially the deciduous trees that dropped their leaves in the fall. But all their work in April is under cover. Like a car that spent all winter in a snowbank, the tree has a big job coming back to life. Sally Aitken, a researcher and associate dean of forestry at the University of British Columbia, leads us through it. “The thing about being a tree is you’re stuck there all winter in the cold,” she said. “You’ve got a big stem and you’re very exposed to the cold,” unlike little perennial plants that die back above ground and shelter underground. Some of these even have ready-to-use food in bulbs…

Fine Homebuilding, April 8, 2020: Salvaging Trees for Lumber

Back in the late 1970s, my wife and I purchased 25 acres of forested mountain land in Virginia with the intention of homesteading. In the ensuing years, careers developed, the kids grew up, and the homestead never happened—but we kept the land anyway. Call me a tree-hugger, but there was something satisfying about keeping that little piece of Creation wild. Meanwhile, the forest kept on growing. We cut firewood as needed, but had no real desire to harvest timber. The situation changed recently, however, due to a freak storm and an insect blight. The storm knocked down a number of mature hardwoods and the blight, caused by the emerald ash borer, is gradually wiping out an entire species. We had to decide to either salvage the trees or let them rot in the woods. of invasive species, such as the ash borer—a wood-boring beetle… As a builder and woodworker, my instinct was of course to salvage the wood from our doomed trees. That turned out to be more challenging than I realized it would be. There are four distinct issues that need to be addressed in order to convert trees to lumber: logging, milling, drying, and storage…

New Zealand, Newshub, April 4, 2020: Coronavirus: Growers fear millions of fruit will rot on trees

One Hawke’s Bay grower fears 12 million of his apples will rot on the trees because the lockdown has slowed production. The apple and kiwifruit industries are facing growing uncertainty as the COVID-19 crisis shuts down supply chains around the world. Apple trees are overflowing at this time of the year. But for Yummy Fruit manager Paul Paynter it’s a picking season like he’s never seen before. “This is really unique,” he told Newshub. That’s because the nationwide lockdown has come right in the middle of the apple harvest. Usually bustling packhouses are slowing down due to social distancing rules. “[It’s] pretty traumatic, very hard on the staff,” Paynter says. “In an already difficult time of the year they’re already tired and stretched and it’s a whole other level of complexity and pressure but that’s just the game, we’ve got to suck it up…”

Fast Company, April 6, 2020: We need trees to fight pollution in cities—but which trees we use matters a lot

Though having a lot of greenery indoors may not significantly remove pollutants from the air of your home (though the plants do look nice), green infrastructure does have a large impact. Some outdoor vegetation does directly remove pollutants from the air, but even on the scale of an entire city, this effect is pretty negligible. Instead, what greenery can do in a specific area or on a specific street, though, is form a physical barrier between traffic emissions and pedestrians walking around, which does protect from the health effects of air pollution. It’s not that just having trees somewhere in a city helps to make the air less polluted; it’s more about having the right kinds of trees in the right places. Trees that are part of these green barriers do directly capture some pollutants. They also divert and dilute plumes of polluted air, even affecting wind flow depending on how porous or dense the green infrastructure is. In a paper recently published in Climate and Atmospheric Science, two experts from the Global Center for Air Research (GCARE) analyzed scientific literature on what aspects of green infrastructure influence ambient air quality, and put together information about 12 influential traits for 61 tree species to help urban planners and landscape architects pick which trees to plant to be the best barrier against pollutants…

Exeter, UK, University of Exeter, April 6, 2020: Unplanned tree planting could increase global warming and damage the environment, experts warn

No one doubts that trees can help suck carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, out of the atmosphere and help tackle climate change. However, a new report from the Government’s independent advisors, the Natural Capital Committee (NCC), shows that unless the massive expansion of tree planting promised in the run up to the last UK general election is planned with an eye to its wider effects, it could cause problems for the environment, or even result in increased greenhouse gas emissions globally. The report lists a number of ways in which unregulated planting could increase global warming. Boggy peatland soils lock up vast quantities of carbon, but planting trees here can dry these soils out, leading them to emit far more greenhouse gas than will ever be captured by those trees. There is also uncertainty regarding the extent to which planting trees on some types of farmland might cause the UK to increase its imports of meat from countries which farm beef by cutting down rainforests, thereby releasing huge quantities of carbon into the atmosphere. These problems might well arise if tree planting subsidies simply focus on the cheapest land available, such as wetlands or upland farming areas…

Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat-Gazette, April 7, 2020: Springtime jelly straight from the tree

A highlight of our white bass fishing trip came at the end when Becky Roark surprised us with a jar of her home-made redbud jelly. Redbud trees are pretty to look at, for sure. Their flowers are the main ingredient in Roark’s redbud jelly. We were tickled that she gave Alan Bland and me each a jar to take home. First thing I did after cleaning fish was to pop a slice of wheat bread into the toaster. A little butter and a slather of Roark’s jelly had the toast ready to try. Redbud jelly was all new to me. I’d never heard of such a thing. Friends and neighbors, it is delicious. It’s even better that Roark, of Fayetteville, is happy to share her recipe for redbud jelly with us here today. Here’s the recipe she sent, along with some notes: We usually gather flowers from one or two branches of several trees so we don’t take too much from any one redbud, since they are pollinators for bees. Eastern redbud is an Ozark native and a great replacement for those pesky Bradford pear trees. This springtime jelly recipe will be a family favorite for years to come! We’ve added strawberries to a batch and made strawberry redbud jelly. Yum! You can add lavender, vanilla, and other ingredients, too. We also messed up a batch (didn’t set right) but it turned into some amazing pancake syrup, ha…

Roanoke, Virginia, WDBJ-TV, April 6, 2020: Tree sitters adjust to coronavirus concerns, continue blockade

Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline took social distancing to new heights, when tree sitters blocked the path of the project in Montgomery County, but they aren’t isolated from concern about COVID-19. The tree sitters established their blockade a year and a half ago, and they are still there. We checked in with them recently to see if they have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and they provided a video. They say they remain committed to stopping construction of the controversial project. “As I’m sure you all well know, it is so hard to watch the coronavirus sweep across the globe, taking and threatening the lives of so many,” said the unidentified tree sitter…

Courthouse News Service, April 3, 2020: Ninth Circuit Halts Feds’ Tree-Thinning Project Over Its ‘Vague’ Science

The United States Forest Service prematurely authorized a tree-thinning project in Mt. Hood National Forest without assessing its environmental impact, the Ninth Circuit ruled Friday. In 2018, several conservation groups sued the agency over plans to sell timber harvested from about 12,000 acres of public land, including roughly 4,000 acres of old-growth conifers in Mt. Hood National Forest. The Forest Service dubbed it the Crystal Clear Restoration Project, saying the tree-thinning would reduce wildfire risk. But Cascade Wildlands, Bark, and Oregon Wild argued that mature tree removal may not actually help with fire suppression, pointing to articles from The Open Forest Science Journal and Forest Ecology and Management, as well as other expert sources to support their claims. “The plaintiffs, especially Bark, got people out into the landscape and spent thousands of hours collecting information about what was going on in the land and gave that information to the Forest Service,” said attorney Brenna Bell…

Arlington Heights, Illinois, Daily Herald, April 5, 2020: Tree pruning is underway

When pruning large limbs off trees, it is a good idea to make an undercut first. This is a cut from the bottom up, about one-third of the way through the limb, 4 inches or so away from the main trunk. Make the next cut from the top, an inch or so outside of the undercut to remove the limb. The undercut keeps the limb from splitting and breaking off, which could damage the trunk. Do not cut flush to the trunk, but just outside the branch collar at the base of the branch. Look for the point where the branch is enlarged close to the main trunk of the tree. It is generally not recommended to paint the wound; make the cut with a sharp saw at the proper point for best results…

Dayton, Ohio, Daily News, April 5, 2020: Local lumber business helped tornado trees find new life

During this difficult time, it’s easy to forget that last May, Dayton was in the middle of another crisis when several powerful tornadoes left many homeless and many more to deal with property damage and devastation. Barrett Niekamp and his dad, Tony, are owners of Moraine-based Outdoor Living Group. Niekamp had been working on expanding the business when the tornadoes hit last Memorial Day weekend. “My dad started the company in 2003 and historically we have been in the hardscape and water-feature industry,” Niekamp said. “We’ve done a lot of water gardens and we even built the big children’s garden at Wegerzyn Garden Center.” After majoring in entrepreneurship at Sinclair Community College, Niekamp knew he’d follow in his dad’s footsteps in the family business. And he started becoming more involved in the company. “I started the sawmill part of our business mainly to provide income in the winter,” Niekamp said. “It’s been a good move.” It may seem completely contrary to his business model, but Niekamp has developed an enduring respect for trees over the years and salvages nearly everything he processes from locally sourced trees…

Million Acres, April 5, 2020: Tree Removal for Do-It-Yourselfers: Get Referrals and Call a Pro

Paying someone to remove trees from your yard can be expensive, but so is a trip to the emergency room. Chain saws, ladders, gravity. What could go wrong? That said, there is some advice out there for do-it-yourselfers determined to rid their property of a dead, dying, or just, in their eyes, distasteful piece of tall, woody vegetation. First, determine whether the tree is one you can, indeed, remove safely on your own. A piece of advice worth considering, albeit from a company that wants to do it for you, is this: “If the tree is small enough that you could remove it without climbing a ladder, it’s likely OK if you remove it yourself.” That’s according to Davey Tree, an Ohio-based firm that’s been coming between chain saws and do-it-yourselfers since 1880, before there even were chain saws or middle-class suburban homesteads by the millions. A tree that small, of course, can be easily toppled and limbed up for disposal. As for the trunk and stump, here are three steps to consider according to the company…

BBC, April 2, 2020: Conifer is top tree in urban sound absorption test

Scientists say trees have a role to play in combating noise pollution in urban environments and have identified the best species for the job. The larch was found to be the most effective tree when it comes to absorbing noise with its bark. The conifer was the most effective out of 13 tree species in a laboratory-based sound absorption test. The researchers say the findings can help urban planners use trees for noise control. The results have been published in the Applied Acoustics journal. The study assessed 76 samples from 13 tree species that displayed a variety of different bark characteristics. Co-author Jian Kang, from University College London (UCL), said: “Beside emphasising the effects of vision and shade, urban greening should be considered as well to achieve noise reduction during propagation.” He told BBC News: “Using plants as a potential ‘silencer’ of urban noise could combine environmental protection and landscape business.” The samples were selected by using a range of criteria, including bark thickness, tree age and trunk diameter. Disks of the trunks were collected from recently felled trees. “The main goal was to have a sufficient variety of species, including broadleaved and coniferous,” Prof Kang observed…

Davis, California, University of California, April 1, 2020: Almond Orchard Recycling a Climate-Smart Strategy

Recycling trees onsite can sequester carbon, save water and increase crop yields, making it a climate-smart practice for California’s irrigated almond orchards, finds a study from the University of California, Davis. Whole orchard recycling is when old orchard trees are ground, chipped and turned back into the soil before new almond trees are planted. The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, suggests that whole orchard recycling can help almond orchards be more sustainable and resilient to drought while also increasing carbon storage in the soil. “To me what was really impressive was the water piece,” said corresponding author Amélie Gaudin, an associate professor of agroecology in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences. “Water is central to how we think about agriculture in California. This is a clear example of capitalizing on soil health. Here we see some real benefits for water conservation and for growers.” Drought and high almond prices have encouraged higher rates of orchard turnover in recent years. The previous practice of burning trees that are no longer productive is now restricted under air quality regulations, so whole orchard recycling presents an alternative…

Spokane, Washington, Spokesman-Review, April 3, 2020: High demand for apples keeps production workers on the line with new safeguards

In recent weeks, Nadia Manjares has been waking up at 4 a.m. to get ready for a 10-hour shift of packing apples, making sure people all over the country can buy the fruit at their local grocery store. “The work is always heavy, but it’s been heavier because the company received a higher number of orders,” she said. Manjares has been working at Stemilt Growers for 16 years. Two weeks ago, Washington had its largest volume of orders since 2015, shipping about 3.9 million boxes in one week, said Tim Kovis, communications manager for the Washington State Tree Fruit Association. A 40-pound box usually contains about 80 to 88 apples, depending on variety. Although the overall demand for apples from foreign markets went down this week, the domestic demand is still greater than normal, making up for declines from trade disruptions to foreign markets. “But it’s very difficult to know whether or not that (domestic increase) is due to the current COVID-19 issue or our ongoing trade issues that we’re facing,” Kovis said. Packing warehouses have been following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Department of Health guidelines, ensuring workers wash their hands properly and stay home if they’re not feeling well, Kovis said…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, April 2, 2020: Time to thin certain fruit on trees

You are probably saying!! “What? My tree needs to be thin?” Well, that is almost the idea. Your stone fruit trees can benefit from a little reduction of production. Reducing the amount of fruit on the tree has more benefits than you think. Your stone fruits are the peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries and plums. Some fruit shedding occurs naturally as fruit develops on the tree. This is due to lack of pollination, environmental conditions or stress. Granted, if a tree is in perfect health, the main factor that will truly influence fruit production load and quality is chill hour accumulation. There are additional reasons like lack of water, overwatering, improper fertilization, diseases and insect damage. Mother Nature has control! Unfortunately, some of the previously mentioned reasons can be controlled by the keeper of the tree. Moving forward, I will refer to peaches for the examples. Without any intervention, most peach trees set more fruit than can be consumed. So, now onto the hardest part for any gardener! Removing fruit!!! I know, I said it. So why remove fruit? Thinning controls the number of fruit on the tree. The result will be an increase in fruit size and better quality. In addition, it will decrease the cumulative weight of fruit that will impact individual limbs and branches. A massive fruit load can break or crack the limbs and branches. Without going into great detail, thinning reduces the overall stress for the tree during the production season which makes for a healthier tree in the long run. I almost forgot! This thinning process will also help the tree produce with more consistency in the future. This is especially important with most citrus…

Agana, Guam, Stars & Stripes, April 1, 2020: Beetles are wiping out Guam palms, including those at Andersen’s Palm Tree Golf Course

The way things are going, the Air Force may have to come up with a new name for its golf course at the home of the 36th Wing on Guam. The Palm Tree Golf Course, as Andersen’s 18 holes are known, is infested with voracious coconut rhinoceros beetles, Oryctes rhinoceros, whose meals of choice are the coconut palms that the links are named for. Course manager Steven O’Hearne can only watch from his clubhouse — formerly the base officer’s club — as the beetles gnaw their way, one-by-one, through the beautiful palm trees outside. The damage caused by the tenacious insects is visible yards from the clubhouse door where several nearby coconut trees are on their last legs. Stripped of fronds, the diseased trees look a little like telephone poles. The University of Guam College of Natural and Applied Science has a website devoted to waging war on the invasive beetles, which were discovered on the U.S. island territory in 2007…

Wired, April 1, 2020: Why Old-Growth Trees Are Crucial to Fighting Climate Change

Ken Bible steps over a carpet of bracken and vanilla leaf to get closer to the big Douglas fir. He gives its furrowed bark an affectionate slap, as if introducing a prize racehorse. “It’s about 70 meters tall and 2.6 meters in diameter,” Bible says, leaning back to take in the behemoth stretching above him. From way down here on the shady floor of the forest, he has no hope of seeing all the way to the tree’s top. But thanks to a 279-foot-high tower that rises above the trees, Bible, who helps manage this site on behalf of the US Forest Service, has had the chance to know this old Doug from above as well as below. From hundreds of feet up, at canopy level, he says, you begin to get a new vision of the complexity of structure that defines an old forest. “It looks like a mountain range,” Bible says. “You’ve got ridges and peaks and valleys.” Singular trees like the big Doug reach high over their neighbors. At around 500 years of age, it isn’t the oldest tree in the forest, but a lucky location near a wetland has made it one of the biggest. The Doug is lucky in other ways too. Once upon a time, its particular seed happened to fall from a particular drying cone into what, hundreds of years later, would become a small section of protected old growth inside the Wind River Experimental Forest, a research area in southern Washington state originally created to study the best ways to exploit forests for human use…

Ars Technica, April 1, 2020: BBC’s 1957 April Fool’s “spaghetti-tree hoax” is more relevant than ever

We here at Ars do not typically indulge in the online prankery that comes with April Fool’s Day and are even less inclined to do so in the current climate. But it does provide an opportunity to revisit one of the most famous media hoaxes of the 20th century: the so-called “spaghetti-tree hoax,” the result of a two-and-a-half-minute prank segment broadcast on the BBC’s Panorama current-affairs program on April Fool’s Day in 1957. It’s a fun, albeit cautionary, tale of not believing everything you see on television (or read online). The man largely responsible for the hoax was Austrian-born Panorama cameraman Charles de Jaeger, who liked to play practical jokes. As a kid, one of his school teachers used to tell the class, “Boys, you’re so stupid, you’d believe me if I told you that spaghetti grows on trees.” De Jaeger had always wanted to turn this into an April Fool’s prank, and in 1957, he saw his chance. April Fool’s Day fell on a Monday, the same night Panorama aired. He argued that he could do the shoot cheaply while working on another assignment in Switzerland, and Panorama editor Michael Peacock approved a tiny budget of £100 for the project. The sequence was shot at a hotel in Castiglione on the shore of Lake Lugano. De Jaeger bought 20 pounds of uncooked homemade spaghetti and hung the strands from the branches of the laurel trees around the lake to make it seem like they were “spaghetti trees”…

Forbes, April 1, 2020: Turning Olive Tree Branches Into Biofuel For Clean Energy

The road to sustainable farming is not just about saying goodbye to pesticides and chemical fertilizers and going organic. In the olive-oil producing region of Puglia in Southern Italy, olive farmers are converting agricultural waste into a source of clean energy. Branches cut down during the olive harvest are collected from farms surrounding the small town of Calimera and turned into wood chippings. The chippings are used as a biofuels that feed the boiler of a local power plant. But unlike other biomass power plants, this system does not use the hot water from the boiler to drive a steam turbine. Instead, the water passes through a heat exchanger, which contains a separate fluid with a lower boiling point than water, operating in a closed loop. The resulting vapor drives an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbine, rotating at a relatively slow RPM. This system can generate power from lower temperatures, making it more energy efficient…

Futurity, March 31, 2020: How Dead Trees Help Forests Tolerate Drought

As the climate changes, forests have figured out a way to adapt to drought, a new study shows. Researchers used the US Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis database to study how the traits of tree communities have shifted across the contiguous United States. The results indicate that communities, particularly in more arid regions, have become more drought tolerant, primarily through the death of less hardy trees. To understand what might drive changes in forests’ ability to cope with climate change, the researchers considered two main physiological traits: a species’ average tolerance to water stress and how close this was to its maximum tolerance (essentially how much wiggle room it had when dealing with water stress). “We basically put a number on what species composition means in terms of their ability to deal with water stress,” says Anna Trugman, an assistant professor in the geography department at the University of California, Santa Barbara and lead author of the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Fortunately for the team, the US Department of Agriculture tracks tree species, size, and abundance in more than 160,000 forest plots randomly distributed across the country. What’s more, the US Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis database includes over 200 different types of ecosystems including dry pinyon pine forests, cypress swamps, Atlantic hardwood forests, and the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest…

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, March 31, 2020: Bioprospecting for Industrial Enzymes and Drug Compounds in an Ancient Submarine Forest

Nearly 60,000 years ago, a bald cypress forest flourished on the banks of a prehistoric river near the Gulf of Mexico. Over time, the massive trees grew and died, their enormous trunks falling and becoming entombed in a protective covering of peat and sediment. As sea level rose and the coastline receded, these ancient forest remains were buried beneath the sea surface off the coast of Alabama, where they remained undisturbed for millennia. Intensifying storms along the coast, however, have scoured the seafloor, beginning to expose this ancient submarine forest. Now, a team of scientists from Northeastern University and the University of Utah, funded by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER), are working to unlock the forest’s secrets, including its potential to harbor new compounds for medicine and biotechnology. As demand grows for discovery of novel industrial enzymes and new medicines, researchers are increasingly looking towards the ocean. Marine animals and their symbiotic microorganisms that live on and in wood have recently been shown to be a potentially rich source for biomolecules of high biopharmaceutical and biotechnological value. To this end, this research team is exploring the biodiversity and economic potential of the submerged forest off the Alabama coast, which provides an unusually large, biodiverse, and temporally stable wood-associated marine habitat for them to study. The team’s focus is on bacteria found in wood-eating “shipworms,” a type of clam (teredinid bivalve). These “termites of the sea” convert wood into animal tissue, forming the base of a food chain that can support a rich diversity of fish, invertebrates, and microorganisms in communities that resemble thriving coral reefs…

Yahoo UK, April 1, 2020: Strange tree ‘crop circles’ are being spotted in Japan

Strange ‘crop circles’ made of cedar trees are being spotted in Japan. While many often attribute such formations to aliens, Japan’s ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries is certain these are made by humans. So how exactly did the strange phenomenon happen…

Palm Springs, California, Desert Sun, March 31, 2020: ‘Like a black hole’: Desert Hot Springs man reports beehive in nearby tree

A Desert Hot Springs man expressed concern Tuesday regarding a large beehive he found near his home. The hive is located near Mountain View Road. Richard Emmons, a 70-year-old veteran, said he’d suffered a bee sting near his eye. He added that the hive is “like a black hole in the tree.” He said he wants the bees removed, but has had trouble finding someone to get rid of them. He said he believes the hive poses a threat to those who come into close contact, especially children and seniors. Desert Hot Springs spokeswoman Doria Wilms said the city is going to look into removing the hive or helping Emmons find a group that can remove the hive…

Motley Fool, March 30, 2020: What to Do if Your Neighbor’s Tree Is Impacting Your Property

Trees are a lovely thing — until they become intrusive or hazardous. If you have a dead tree on your property, cutting it down could be a smart move. That way, you don’t run the risk of it falling and wrecking your property, or worse yet, hurting someone. But what if your neighbor has a tree that’s impacting your property — say, a dead one that could fall and shatter your fence at any time, or a thriving one that perpetually scatters leaves and debris into your yard? What can you do? You can’t march into your neighbor’s yard and cut down a tree that isn’t yours. But what you can do is express concern that his or her tree is at risk of damaging your property the next time a big storm rolls around. Your neighbor may agree to take it down. Or, if you’re really worried, you can offer to split the cost of removing that tree with your neighbor. Though you may not want to go that route, as the tree is technically not your responsibility, sharing in that cost could spare you a world of hassle. If your neighbor refuses to budge and insists on leaving the tree in place, express your concerns in writing via email or a certified letter. That way, if that tree does damage your property, you can prove that your neighbor may have been negligent by not taking it down. Now if the tree in question isn’t dangerous, but just needs a major trimming to avoid hanging into your yard or scattering leaves everywhere, that’s a slightly different conversation. In that case, you might ask permission to just do the work yourself, if you’re willing…

London, UK, Independent, March 31, 2020: Coronavirus: Gardening Industry At ‘Crisis Point’ As Millions Of Plants And Trees To Be Thrown Away

The horticultural industry is at “crisis” point, a trade body has warned, as the coronavirus pandemic forces the closure of garden centres across the UK. Growers – many of them family businesses – could be forced to bin millions of pounds worth of plants and trees because they have no buyers for their products, The Horticultural Trades Association said (HTA). It called on the government to step in and provide financial assistance of up to £250 million to help the industry avoid imminent collapse. The HTA said around 650 businesses across the UK produce ornamental crops, contributing £1.4 billion to the economy each year. It added that the sector employs more than 15,000 people directly and almost 30,000 indirectly. Sales have plunged since Mother’s Day – one of the busiest periods for the sector – when people had already begun to self-isolate, the trade body added. The coronavirus lockdown means it is unlikely that sales will see a resurgence over the Easter and May bank holidays…

Russia Beyond, March 16, 2020: Why are Russians so crazy about birch trees?

While traveling for a long time abroad, a Russian often misses his “native birches”. To hold a birch tree tight and cry… that’s the only thing a Russian wants to do in a melancholic mood. Why, you ask? It’s all because of the ancient Slavs. As the birch tree was one of the most widespread trees across Central Russia, it was considered as a tree of “Russian nationality”. Ancient Slavs didn’t come across the massive Siberian fir forests until the 16th century expansion to Siberia – and a fir tree is actually not so easy to hug! Sometimes even modern Russians are surprised that birches not only grow in Russia. How is it possible? Our birches!? According to multiple folk proverbs and beliefs (described in Alexander Strizhev’s ‘Calendar of Russian Nature’ book), ancient pagan Slavs considered hugging a birch tree as a sign of good luck – it would also give you power and joy. Moreover, a birch tree was considered magical…

Phys.org, March 31, 2020: Researchers investigate how forests are changing in response to global warming

As the climate is changing, so too are the world’s forests. From the misty redwoods in the west to the Blue Ridge forest of Appalachia, many sylvan ecosystems are adapting to drier conditions. Using the U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis database, researchers at UC Santa Barbara, the University of Utah and the U.S. Forest Service have studied how the traits of tree communities are shifting across the contiguous United States. The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that communities, particularly in more arid regions, are becoming more drought tolerant, primarily through the death of less hardy trees. To understand what might be driving changes in the ability of forests to cope with climate change, the scientists considered two main physiological traits: a species’ average tolerance to water stress and how close this was to its maximum tolerance (essentially how much wiggle room it had when dealing with water stress)…

Albany, New York, Times-Union, March 27, 2020: Costco site in Guilderland is suddenly devoid of trees

In a development that opponents of the project say was carried out with astonishing speed, work crews hired by Crossgates Mall owner Pyramid Management on Thursday removed most of the trees on the site of a planned Costco store and gas station. The work came to an abrupt halt Thursday afternoon when Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber sent the local Pyramid affiliate, Releaseco LLC, a cease and desist order. Because the site is being reviewed under New York’s State Environmental Quality Review or SEQR program, it wasn’t supposed to be disturbed until the review is completed. “It was a big wooded lot that is no longer a big wooded lot,” said Steve Wickham, a local opponent of the development. “It was almost entirely clear cut.” Pyramid officials did not respond to an email on Friday. A phone message at their Syracuse headquarters noted that the staff are working remotely. The cutting, which observers said was done with chain saws and bulldozer-sized tree removal machines. The lot wasn’t supposed to be disturbed while under SEQR review. But a notice announcing the tree cutting on Guilderland’s planning office website explained that state and federal wildlife law largely prevents cutting trees between April 1 and Oct. 31 in areas where Northern long-eared bats are present. The bats hibernate in caves during winter, but emerge in spring and take up residence in this area, among other spots. Tree cutting would disturb them…

Boston, Massachusetts, Glove, March 29, 2020: Maine officials investigate report of tree being cut down to quarantine out-of-towners

Authorities in Maine are investigating a report that several people with guns had cut down a tree on the island of Vinalhaven to block a road so that some people would be quarantined in their home. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page that when law enforcement arrived, they found the felled tree and said it had been dragged into the road to block it. They said deputies learned that some island residents believe the people staying in the home are supposed to be quarantined because they came from out of state. The sheriff’s office said the trio had been staying on Vinalhaven for about 30 days and none have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Maine reported two more deaths from the virus on Sunday, bringing to total to three. One of the two who died was a man in his 60s from Cumberland County who was a long-time employee of the Maine Department of Transportation, Gov. Janet Mills said. Meanwhile, in Vermont, State Police there are visiting hotels and motels to make sure that they are closed under Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s order to slow the spread of the virus, police said Sunday…

Baltimore, Maryland, Sun, March 28, 2020: Coronavirus pandemic delays tree-cutting incident in Annapolis tied to Hogan Cos.

Anne Arundel County has cited the owner of a property on Bestgate Road with grading without a permit after 14 trees were cut down without a permit but has yet to pursue the incident under its new, tougher forest conservation law. The County Council had, despite argument over other aspects of bill 68-19, agreed that the cost for clearing in violation of the forest conservation law should increase from 80 cents per square foot to $4.50 per square foot to deter cutting. County Council President Alison Pickard said the intent was for that figure to be applied as a fine or penalty. If that $4.50 was assessed for the 16,351 square feet developers have been cited with clearing off Bestgate Road, it would amount to a fine of $73,579.50, Environmental Policy Director Matt Johnston said. But Johnston said the county are still awaiting guidance from the Office of Law on how the Department of Inspections and Permits, Office of Planning and Zoning, and the Office of Law can enforce violations. As the coronavirus pandemic has worsened, and more cases have been announced in the state and county, non-essential matters have been put aside. The guidance is still being drafted and reviewed, Johnston said, as the office of law is focusing on “confronting and stopping the spread of the virus…”

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, KDKA-TV, March 29, 2020: Mother And Daughter Taken To Hospital After Tree Falls On Them

A mother and her 3-year-old daughter are injured after a tree fell on them in Cascade Park in New Castle. Diana Palumbo suffered a series of fractures and a punctured lung. Her daughter suffered a fractured skull. The incident happened Sunday afternoon in between the park pavilions and the creek. They were taken to Shenango Fire Hall. From there, choppers took them to two separate hospitals. The mother was taken to a Youngstown Hospital while the daughter was flown to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. They were taken to the hospital in critical condition but both are now in stable condition. According to the grandfather, they are hopeful for a full recovery. “You feel dread and shock,” said Gerald Anastasia. “You see the tree. It snapped 30 feet from the base, so it was a hard hit. My daughter has a series of fractures, a punctured lung, and the little granddaughter has a fractured skull. They’re stable right now and so we hope in a matter of time that they’re going to have a full recovery…”

Chicago, Illinois, Sun Times, March 25, 2020: Residential street sweeping, tree trimming and tree removal could end until Chicago wins coronavirus war

Tree trimming and removal, along with street sweeping, may be suspended until the city wins the war on the coronavirus — or at least turns the corner, a top mayoral aide said Wednesday. The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation could be forced to halt those key housekeeping services, which aldermen and their constituents hold dear, said Streets and Sanitation Commissioner John Tully. He plans to discuss the potential cutbacks with all 50 aldermen during a conference call on Friday. He plans to tell the aldermen what he told the Sun-Times on Wednesday: that it’s virtually impossible to continue street sweeping and tree trimming when people are cooped up in their homes, some afraid to leave, and the city has issued orders to suspend ticketing, towing and booting of illegally parked vehicles except when it impacts public safety. “When we street sweep, we post the street and say, `You need to not park on this side of the street. You need to have your car not there.’ Well, we’re not really towing unless there’s emergencies right now,” Tully said…

Eureka Alert, March 25, 2020: New framework will help decide which trees are best in the fight against air pollution

A study from the University of Surrey has provided a comprehensive guide on which tree species are best for combatting air pollution that originates from our roads – along with suggestions for how to plant these green barriers to get the best results. In a paper published in npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, air pollution experts from Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) conducted a wide-ranging literature review of research on the effects of green infrastructure (trees and hedges) on air pollution. The review found that there is ample evidence of green infrastructure’s ability to divert and dilute pollutant plumes or reduce outdoor concentrations of pollutants by direct capture, where some pollutants are deposited on plant surfaces. As part of their critical review, the authors identified a gap in information to help people – including urban planners, landscape architects and garden designers – make informed decisions on which species of vegetation to use and, crucially, what factors to consider when designing a green barrier…